British Dental Journal 209, 53 (2010)
Published online: 10 July 2010 | doi:10.1038/sj.bdj.2010.624

David Smith

B. O'Riordan, L. Brocklebank & E. Whaites

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David Smith

David Smith

Professor David Smith BDS, MSc, MPhil, DDRRCR, FRCR, DUniv-Open (1931-2010) was professionally best known as Head of the Department of Dental Radiology at King's College School of Medicine and Dentistry from 1972-1996. But he had many other achievements: serving in the Merchant Navy (1948-1958); Master Mariner (1957); member of the Greater London Council and Inner London Education Authority (1977-1986); Open University Council member (1978-1991) and Civil Consultant to the RAF (1990-1996).

He was a man with great foresight, communication skills and integrity who inspired countless students, many of whom became close friends.

He graduated from King's in 1964 then obtained an MSc in Radiation Physics and Radiation Biology in 1966. After working part-time in dental practice, in 1969 he obtained an MPhil in Radiation Biology and was appointed full-time Senior Lecturer in Dental Radiology at King's; in 1978 he was promoted to Professor.

David developed a one year internal MSc in Dental Radiology in 1975 and in 1990 pioneered the first clinical distance-learning MSc from the University of London, in Dental Radiology; about 150 students from over 40 countries have since been awarded degrees. During the 1980s David was instrumental in setting up the Diploma in Dental Radiology from the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR); the RCR awarded him an Honorary Fellowship in 1997. He published widely, including Dental radiography and Simple navigation by the sun. After a hugely successful and influential career David 'retired' in 1996, but continued working to develop the distance-learning MClinDent in Prosthodontics at King's.

He was President of the British Society of Dental and Maxillofacial Radiology twice (1977/8 and 1985/6): he used his presidency to foster links with colleagues in Europe, and is acknowledged as one of the pioneers behind the formation of the European Academy of Dental and Maxillofacial Radiology - founded in 2004.

David is survived by his wife Mary, son Malcolm and daughter Clare. They know that David was held in very high regard by countless colleagues and will live on in our memories; his influence will last for generations.

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