The Institute of Human Sciences is very saddened by the news of Philip Stewart’s death. Philip was a true polymath (with interests and publications spanning such diverse disciplines as biology, languages, economics, religion and poetry) and a good friend to Human Sciences. He was awarded a first-class degree in Arabic, and studied for a PhD on the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Naguib Mahfouz. He later went on to translate Naguib Mahfouz’s novel Awlad Harentna, ‘Children of our Alley’ which was published as Children of Gebelawi. Philip then studied for a second BA at Oxford in Forestry and was awarded another First.
After spending seven years working in forest conservation in Algeria, Philip returned to Oxford taking up a University Lecturership in Plant Sciences in what was the Department of Forestry and Agriculture, when he became a fellow of St Cross College, teaching economics to students of Agriculture and Forestry and then human ecology to students in Human Sciences.
He served on the Joint Committee in Human Sciences, later the Institute of Human Sciences, and took on various administrative roles for the degree including Chair of Examiners and Admissions Co-ordinator. He became Director of Studies for Human Sciences at St Anne’s College and continued teaching human ecology for Human Sciences for many years after his retirement.
He wrote many articles and books including Unfolding Islam and an article on the periodic table which was published in Nature, creating a new representation of the periodic system of elements in his ‘chemical galaxy.’
Philip was a kind and gentle man who cared greatly about his students’ welfare, supporting them during their time at Oxford and beyond. He kept in regular touch with his former students, for many years running a Human Sciences book group. Philip made a huge impact on the lives of those who knew him and he will be sorely missed.
Philip was also a great family man and our thoughts are with Lucile and his children and grandchildren.