The Robert Ramage Symposium: celebrating a great scientific legacy

On Saturday 11th March 2023, the School of Chemistry hosted a special symposium in memory of Professor Robert (Bob) Ramage.

The event was attended by members of the Ramage family, alumni, former colleagues and students. Visitors travelled from as far as the United States to be a part of the day.

The event opened with a warm welcome from Head of School Professor Jason Love, and host Professor Dominic Campopiano. Reflections were shared by Bob’s daughters Julia and Jenny, who described him as a champion of education with a passion for learning and a sheer determination to solve problems.

This was followed by scientific talks from Bob’s former students and colleagues – Dr Alan Cuthbertson, Professor Campbell McInnes, Dr Craig Jamieson, Dr Ian Lewis and Professor Alethea Tabor. The presentations covered a wide range of topics, including new perspectives on peptide therapeutics, studies of lantibiotics and protein-protein interactions. The morning session was drawn to a close by plenary speaker Professor Tom Muir with his talk: “Illuminating Chromatin: Chemical Biology Lights the Way.” All speakers shared their fond memories of Bob and described how working with him had shaped their respective career paths.

After lunch, speakers Dr Alastair Hay and Dr Graham Cotton (Almac) detailed opportunities for exploiting Protein Chemistry for future medicines and Bob’s Albachem legacy. Professor Lesley Yellowlees then shared her own personal memories of Bob as a former colleague and mentor within the School of Chemistry.

Next, Professor Dominic Campopiano gave an overview of how the School of Chemistry has changed and developed in recent years, including new courses, research themes, rankings, and learning spaces. Student ambassadors Pinyo, Katherine, Peter, Krishi and Kuan Leng followed this with tours of the School and the new Nucleus Building which opened in January, so that visitors could see the changes first-hand. Highlights included our brand new undergraduate teaching lab on the top floor of the Nucleus Building, with stunning views of the Royal Observatory and across the city to Arthur’s Seat, and our new Analytical Chemistry Instrument Suite (ACIS) Laboratory in the Joseph Black Building. Many former student attendees were surprised to see how much facilities and analytical techniques had changed since their own student days at the School!

The day’s activities closed with a networking reception in the School social space. Attendees enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and making new contacts, as well as finding former classmates and lecturers on the class photos displayed.

t250 lecture with people sat down

Great to see former lab colleagues that I haven't seen for years. Wonderful to hear about where research in the field has gone and Bob's legacy.


It was a great opportunity for reunion with former Ph.D. students and post-docs and also to revisit the Chemistry department and see how well it has progressed. I enjoyed all the scientific presentations immensely.


We were delighted to celebrate Bob’s scientific legacy with so many people who he inspired, within the School of Chemistry community and beyond. Our staff and students will always be an important part of the School and we really enjoyed hearing the many special memories shared.


Congregation of students

Your memories of Bob: recollections from alumni and colleagues

Professor Ramage covering the Williamson Synthesis for ethers back in 1992 and advising us on the importance of the fundamentals of organic chemistry which could all be found in Morrison & Boyd, along with his lecture on the organic chemistry based on the contents list on the spine of a Kellogg's Corn Flakes packet.

Professor Ramage loved to walk around the lab and ‘help’ students with tricky crystallisations. This often resulted in the students having to vac all the solvent off and start again. Then again perhaps it provided an incentive to improve our technique before help was offered!

Bob was an inspiring supervisor. He knew his students well. He used to say: ‘with your ability to talk to so many people and for so long you are wasted in a lab, you should be out there working with people!!’ I eventually became a teacher!!

I remember this rather gruff Glaswegian who held our attention by his commanding communication of the mysteries of Organic Chemistry and by the worry that you would be caught not paying attention!! He had a different style of delivery to other lecturers but one which left you clear about what you needed to know and how to use the knowledge as you moved up towards the final years.

He was the most principled scientist I ever knew.

Stay in Touch

Are you a former student of the School of Chemistry and haven’t heard from us recently? Visit our alumni pages to discover how you can stay in touch to receive future event invitations, or contact us by email at