Interests: Electric Universe, Velikovsky
My husband Eric Crew, who has died aged 89, was born in Stoke-on-Trent, and became an electrical engineer. He joined British Petroleum in London but travelled widely installing switchgear in power stations. He was a fellow of the Institute of Electrical Engineers, and in retirement he developed a fire protection system for cables in industrial plants and underground railways.
Passionately interested in all aspects of science - but especially astronomy - he became a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a council member of the Society for Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS). A prolific writer with a wide circle of correspondents, he was more recently in contact with the Hungarian scientist Laszlo Kortvelyessy on the electrical aspects of the sun.
Kortvelyessy wrote the following on hearing of Eric's death. "Eric's 'Theory of the Universe' was based on the fact that electricity can shape matter. We cannot 'hear' this lightning in space anymore but Eric found many celestial bodies which suggested these electrical effects. His paper Lightning in Astronomy was published in Nature in December 1974. The old professors were not happy with the solution of so many contradictions in astronomy - so ignored it. Eric visited me in Kleve, Germany, and looked into my telescope, climbing two ladders at 84 years old."
Eric Crew was influenced by CER Bruce, who, in 1941, discovered that a jet ejected from the sun had the characteristics of lightning, repeated in other stellar systems and in galaxies. Eric took up these ideas and had papers published in Nature, the Observatory Magazine, the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, the Journal of Meterology, SIS Review and others.
He enjoyed naturist activities, depending on weather and location, and regularly contributed articles to Starkers magazine, mainly about people's intolerance to nudity. He once made the front page of a local paper - naked - his decency preserved with the aid of a strategically positioned Ordnance Survey map, when the national papers were following the exploits of 'the naked rambler'. He enjoyed walking in the countryside both in Britain and in France and encouraged birds, amphibians and reptiles (he threw sticks at grey squirrels and marauding cats) to live in a wildlife-orientated garden.
Being a child of humble origins and with his inventive and practical nature, he was a lifetime recycler. He could not pass a skip without rummaging about for discarded wood and other items. Following his death, his family opted for the ultimate recycling activity - a green burial. This was in accordance with his wishes to be buried under a tree in a bamboo coffin (cardboard disintegrates too quickly). Eric Crew is survived by his wife June, and five children, three of whom were from his first marriage to Catherine, who died in 1964. - http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2006/may/26/obituaries.mainsection