Who was Harry Nursten?

The Harry Nursten Building, which houses Food and Nutritional Sciences and Pharmacy, was named after a British Food Chemist. The building was renamed in 2017 in memory of Harry who was the Head of the Department of Food Science  at Reading University in 1976.

Harry was born in 1927 in Czechoslovakia and he moved to England just before the start of World War 2. He went to the University of Leeds and he studied Colour Chemistry and Dyeing and then undertook a PhD in Colour Chemistry in 1949. He taught at Nottingham technical college before returning as a lecturer in Leeds in 1955.

After this he took up his final position in Reading in 1976 and he finally retired in 1992. This was following the merger of the National College of Food Technology and the Department of Food Science which made it one of the biggest Food Science Departments in the UK. Many would say that he never actually retired because he still spent the majority of his time in the University. Instead of lecturing he attended research seminars and wrote papers on the subjects that he was really interested.

He published a book on the Malliard reaction (a chemical reaction between amino acids that gives browned food a distinctive flavor) which became the standard text on the subject. His book is available in the library on the 3rd floor.

Written by Amelia Dinsdale

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