Graham Frederick Anthony Harding

1937 - 2018

It is with a great sense of sadness and loss that we learned from his son Anthony of the passing of Graham Harding who died peacefully on October 20, 2018.

Graham graduated with a degree in Psychology from University College, London in 1961, obtained a PhD in EEG and Psychiatry from the University of Birmingham and a DSc from Aston University.

In 1998, he was awarded an Honorary Membership and later Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians for outstanding contributions to medicine. Graham was the first Professor of Clinical Neurophysiology in the UK, President of the British Society for Clinical Neurophysiology and Secretary of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Graham established the Clinical Neurophysiology Unit at Aston University in 1963, which he led until his retirement in 2003.

While Graham’s interest for the EEG was initially fueled by the quest for the “hard end” of psychology, he immediately saw its potential application in the medical field and learned the secrets of its interpretation by “Pep” Pampiglione at Hospital for Sick Children Great Ormond Street in London. On his move to Birmingham, he created the Clinical Neurophysiology Unit at Aston University in 1963 and was head of that Unit until his retirement in 2002. In Birmingham his friendship and clinical partnership with the late child neurologist Peter M. Jeavons, led to ground-breaking, clinical and electroencephalographic contributions of photosensitivity in epilepsy. They wrote the first monograph on photosensitivity in 1975 studying electroclinical features in a cohort of 460 patients. His scientific work was key to elucidating the neurophysiological mechanisms responsible for the photoparoxysmal EEG response and stands as an example of how laboratory research can lead to societal impact. His work in developing UK broadcasting guidelines to minimize risk to photosensitive patients paved the way for their adoption by many other countries worldwide. He was also one of the key professionals involved in the development of guidelines for photic stimulation. His Japanese friends will remember him for his scientific support to the Japanese government following the “Pokemon Shock” in December 1997.

Graham Harding and patient

His passion for technological innovation led him to take interest in Magnetoencephalography when the technology was confined to obscure physics laboratories. He invested in a single channel MEG system in 1988 and ten years later, through his collaboration with the Institute of Physics in Moscow, Graham secured the first multi-channel MEG system to be used in the UK.

He was a researcher not only with great vision, skills and energetic persistence in achieving his goals, but also with an open mind and interest in a wide variety of subjects. We will sadly miss him.

Stefano Seri and Dorothee Kastelejin Nolst Trenite