Derek Page was born November 22, 1929, in Sheffield, England. He attended Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, England, where he received a bachelor of arts degree in physics, with honors, in 1953, followed by a master of arts in 1957, and his doctorate in 1968. In 1953, he joined British Insulated Calendars Cables as a physical chemist, and in 1955, the British Paper and Board Industry Research Association as principal research officer. In 1964, he joined the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada as section head in fibre physics, followed by division director of materials science, and then served as director of research for physical sciences until his retirement in 1993, when he was appointed distinguished professor of physics at the IPST. He is currently scientific editor of the Journal Pulp and Paper Science and is a consultant to the industry.
Since 1955, Dr. Page has applied his skills as a physicist and a microscopist to the understanding of the structure and properties of fibers and of paper. He and the teams he led have produced classical work in the fields of fiber structure; effects of beating and refining; strength of wet webs; fiber-fiber bonding; image analysis; printing; paper permanence; and the stress-strain curve and tensile strength of single fibers and of paper.
Dr. Page, who holds two patents and has authored or co-authored 112 published articles, was best known for his development of a theory for the tensile strength of paper in terms of the properties of the fibers and the structure of the sheet. The “Page equation” has been used extensively in industry to explain the processing change effects on paper strength.
A founding member of the TAPPI paper physics committee, Dr. Page subsequently became chairman. He was also chairman of the 1972 Gordon Research Conference on the Chemistry and Physics of Paper and founded and became the first chairman of the PAPTAC committee on recycling. He chaired the International Paper Physics Conference in 1973. Dr. Page edited the proceedings of the TAPPI seminar “The Physics and Chemistry of Wood Pulp Fibers”, Appleton, Wisconsin, in 1969. and served on the editorial advisory board of Pulp and Paper Canada from 1983 to 1993. He has served on the program committee of Oxford and Cambridge Fundamental Symposia since 1970.
Dr. Page was elected Fellow in the following organizations: TAPPI; International Academy of Wood Science; Royal Microscopical Society; and Institute of Physics. He is also a member of several other technical societies. In 1999, he received the highest honor granted by PAPTAC, the John S. Bates Memorial Gold Medal.
A member of the “Magic Circle” as an undergraduate student at Cambridge, he continued to give magic shows for children at PAPRICAN’s Christmas party until his retirement.
Dr. Page is married to Louise Auclair. He has three children by his first marriage, Susan, Ruth, and Elizabeth, and four stepchildren by his second marriage, Kathline, Jonathan, Elizabeth, and Marc. He has 13 grandchildren.
Dr. Page passed away on April 7, 2017.