Bryan Tozer was a family man, Physicist, Electrical Engineer, Company founder and Director, Research Scientist, pioneer in laser science, expert in laser safety, yachtsman, and many more things.
He was born on 11th April 1932, as a working class lad in Wallasey on the Wirral in Merseyside. During the war he was evacuated only for a short time and therefore experienced the majority of the Liverpool Blitz of 1940 – 42. He was academically gifted and won a scholarship to attend Birkenhead School. Since his parents were from Bristol and regional accents were discouraged by the school, he never acquired the Merseyside accent. He was naturally left handed, but encouraged to be right handed, which meant that as an adult he was ambidextrous. He attended Liverpool University where his chosen subject was Physics.
After graduating he remained at Liverpool University and completed his Doctorate with a thesis in Plasma Physics, then taking up a place as a Research Fellow at Queen Mary University London. He married Pauline in 1961 shortly after he had started work with the Central Electricity Generating Board at their Research Laboratories in Leatherhead. He was to spend the majority of his career working for the CEGB.
After the birth of his two children, he took the opportunity of a two-year posting to the National Research Council in Ottawa, Canada. By this time he was already working with lasers, – a recent invention at the time – and, returning to the UK in 1968, Bryan transferred to the CEGB’s Marchwood Engineering Laboratories, near Southampton. Here he rose to become head of the Physics Research Division and amongst many other achievements, pioneered a number of techniques using lasers for the remote optical inspection of the inside of nuclear reactors.
For this purpose he spent a lot of time visiting all the country’s nuclear reactors during shutdown times. It was once said to him – ‘Most men know their way around England by pubs; but you know your way around England by Nuclear Power Stations’.
During his professional career he had more than 100 scientific papers published and was invited to give scientific lectures all over the world. In 1987 he took the opportunity for early retirement from the CEGB, but instead of choosing a life of leisure he embarked on a new project, founding his company Lasermet, which now employs 45 people and is currently celebrating its 30th Anniversary.
In 1988 he was awarded the post of Visiting Professor at City University London.
He was Chairman of BSI EPL/76 from 1985 to 2008 and Chairman of CENELEC TC 76 from 1993 to 2008 as well as being highly active in IEC TC 76 throughout this time; these committees governing the laser safety standards in UK, Europe and internationally. He dedicated about half of his time to this standards work over a period of more than 20 years, and he gained an international reputation as an expert in the field. In 2008 he received the inaugural award of the British Standards Institute’s 1908 award for outstanding services to standards making.
During the last years of his life he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease which seriously restricted his ability to communicate, but he will be remembered as a kind, gentle and highly intelligent man who was well versed in business, politics, sport and world affairs. As a man who achieved so much in his lifetime he will be sadly missed by family, friends and colleagues, particularly in the laser industry. He is survived by his wife Pauline and children Caroline and Paul.