The St John’s community was saddened to hear in March 2019 of the loss of one of its alumni.
  • Date 12 July 2019 - 4.00 p.m.
  • Location The Chapel of St John's College

Hannes Griebel, friend, writes:

Julian Nott (1962, Chemistry) passed away peacefully on March 26, 2019 after suffering multiple injuries from an extraordinary and unforeseeable accident following a successful balloon flight and landing in Warner Springs, California. Julian was flying an innovative new balloon design that he invented to test high altitude technology for scientific and engineering applications.  His loving partner of 30 years, artist Anne Luther, was at his side.

Julian Richard Nott was born in Bristol and attended Epsom College and St John’s College, Oxford, going on to gain a master’s in Physical Chemistry. He then worked in Bangladesh with the Voluntary Services Oversees (VSO), the equivalent of the American Peace Corps.

Known as the founder of the modern ballooning movement, and one of its most creative and innovative exponents, Julian was changing the course of balloon history with the development of an entirely new system in which conventional ballast is replaced with cryogenic helium.  He has broken 79 World Ballooning Records and 96 British Records including exceeding 55,000 feet in a hot air balloon.

Besides being a leading scientist in his field and an engineering genius, Julian was also one of the world’s great experimental test pilots. The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum has described him as “a central figure in the expansion of ballooning as an organizer, pilot, and most of all as arguably the leading figure to apply modern science to manned balloon design.”

A driving force behind the advancement of balloons for the exploration of planets, Julian was also an avid supporter of planetary exploration, contributing game changing research to enable balloons to fly on Titan and Venus.

We say farewell to a great scholar, a true gentleman, a unique genius and a very close friend!!

Julian Nott “Science, freedom, beauty, adventure: what more could you ask of life?” Charles Lindbergh
" Most of all I hope to use science to advance and innovate, however, setting a world record is indisputable proof of the success of a new design. " Julian Nott

To honour Julian’s extraordinary life and contribution to science, a celebration of his life will be held on Friday, 12 July 2019. A service at the Chapel of St John’s College will be held from 4.00pm to 4.45pm, followed by a Reception at 5.00pm.

Due to the size of the chapel and reception room, which can hold up to 100 people, please contact the Alumni Office if you would like to attend.