Barbara M. Wanklyn (1929-2016)

The late 1960s/1970s was a time when the solid state physics community increasingly recognized that some erroneous conclusions had been made based on measurements on poorly characterized materials. Physics laboratories recognized the need for materials specialists who would provide well characterized single crystals rather than polycrystalline materials whose properties might be dominated by grain boundary artifacts. Barbara Wanklyn had this role of a materials specialist in the prestigious Clarendon Laboratory at Oxford, where she provided crystals for the group of Dr. Geoff Garton over the next decades.

Barbara’s background was in chemistry and she worked mostly on the growth of single crystals from high temperature solutions, mostly of materials that would be difficult to prepare by any other method. She applied her expertise to the selection of appropriate solvents for the preparation of crystals mostly of novel materials, often ternary oxides of the rare earths. In addition to the fundamental chemistry, her work required modifications to the basic solvent materials to control nucleation and habit, in addition to factors that would affect the quality of the crystals grown. She was the first person to grow crystals of many complex rare earth oxides, some of which had unusual and interesting properties. Examples of the types of materials she grew as crystals were GdVO 4 , GdMn 2 O 5 , DyAlO 3 and Fe 3 TiO 5.  

Barbara educated many British and international students and visitors, introducing them to the area of crystal growth and characterization of materials. She was very interested in understanding the mechanisms of growing high quality crystals and encouraged many students and postdocs working with her not only to obtain crystals but also observe how changing the growth conditions influenced changes in crystal properties. She was a patient and understanding teacher serving as a role model for many women scientists from around the world. She had an interesting personality with many interests outside her Clarendon career.

She was an excellent scientist, an author and co-author of about 311 publications, cited on average (until 2015) 100 times per year,  with h-index of 31.

A native of South Africa, Barbara was a delightful and charming person, and an important contributor to the subject of crystal growth from high temperature solutions as it made the transition from an art to science.

She was a devoted and loving wife to John, a happy mother of Jennifer and Peter and a grandmother to three grandchildren.

Selected Papers by Barbara Wanklyn:

   [ 1]  V. Balédent, S. Chattopadhyay, P. Fertey, M. B. Lepetit, M. Greenblatt, B. Wanklyn, F. O. Saouma, J. I. Jang, and P. Foury-Leylekian,   Evidence for Room Temperature Electric Polarization in Rmn2O5Multiferroics, Phys. Rev. Lett.114, 117601 – Published 16 March 2015


[2]  J B Forsyth,P J Brown andB M Wanklyn, Magnetism in cupric oxide, Journal of Physics C: Solid State Physics 21 (1988)  pages: 2917-2929


[3] G.Garton, B.M. Wanklyn, Crystal growth and magnetic susceptibility of some rare earth compounds, Journal of Material Science 3 (1968) 395-401 parts 1 and 2


[4] B. Wanklyn B. Garrard. T he flux growth of some simple and complex oxides, Journal of Materials Science Letters 2 (1983) pages: 285-290


[5] B.M. Wanklyn, Prediction of starting compositions for flux growth of complex oxide crystals, Journal of Crystal Growth 37 (1977) pages: 334-342


[6] B.E. Watts, H. Dabkowska, B.M. Wanklyn, The flux growth of perovskites (CaTiO 3 , CdTiO 3 , SrZrO 3 and LaGaO 3 , PrGaO 3 , NdGaO 3 ), Journal of Crystal Growth 94 (1989) pages:125-130


[7] B.M. Wanklyn,H.A. Lipko, Solubility and relative supersaturation in the fluxed melt system Fe 2 O 3 -PbO-V 2 O 5 , Journal of Crystal Growth, 49 (1980) pages:182-188


[8] B.J. Garrard, B,M. Wanklyn, H.A. Lipko, Relative supersaturation, solubility and supercooling in the system Tb 2 O 3 -PbO-V 2 O 5 , Journal of Crystal Growth 53 (1981) pages: 297-299


[9] B.M. Wanklyn “Practical aspects of flux growth by spontaneous nucleation”  In Crystal Growth edited by Brian Pamplin Pergamon Press Ltd – Oxford and New York 1974,  vol 1, chapter 7 pages: 217-288










Figure1. Barbara in her home, Oxford 2013







Figure 2. SmFeO 3







Figure 3. Ho 3 Fe 5 O 12



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