John Dylan Morgan, M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon.), MNCP, MNCH
(ABGS: 1957 – 1964)
Dylan Morgan was born 3 May 1946 in Burnley, Lancashire, the eldest son of Welsh parents Elaine (née Floyd) and Morien Morgan. While Dylan was at School the family lived at Noddfa, Little Row, at the top of Abernant. Dylan had two younger brothers, Gareth (ABGS 1961–68) and Huw. Dylan’s father taught French at Pontypridd Boys Grammar School, and his mother was the well-known playwright, author and lecturer who lived in Mountain Ash after moving from Abernant.
Dylan was a Welsh speaker having received his primary education at Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg when it was housed in its first home in Cwmdare. Whilst a pupil there he was chosen to be one of the two macwyaid1 for the National Eisteddfod Proclamation ceremony in Aberdare in 1955.
He was admitted to Form 1A of the grammar school in September 1957 and soon made his mark as a high flyer, consistently coming at or near the top of his class. Throughout school he showed a great interest and ability in chess. In the under-18s section of the Easter Congress of the Welsh Chess Union, he gained 1st place in 1962, 2nd in 1963, and joint-first in 1964. In 1961 he was 1st in the under-15 section. He was of course a regular member of the school chess team.
He took nine O levels in 1962, and then in 1964 gained 3 A-grades at A level in Pure Maths, Applied Maths and Physics, plus a distinction in the Pure Maths Special Paper. In the sixth form he was taught by D Ll. Jones (physics) and D.W. Price (mathematics).
During his lower sixth year he joined the youth section of the Little Theatre drama group, and played the lead role in an English version of Molière’s Tartuffe.2
In the upper sixth form in 1964, Dylan gained scholarships to both Oxford and Cambridge, but quickly decided upon Jesus College, Oxford for his university education. From Oxford, He gained a first in Maths (1967), followed by a D.Phil. in Elementary Particle Theory at the Oxford University Mathematics Department (1970). Whilst at Oxford, Dylan married Trudi Yates in 1969, a fellow student who read English at St Hugh’s College. In 1981, Trudi and Dylan became parents to their only child, a daughter.
From 1970 he carried out research as a Fellow in the mathematics department of Dundee University on aircraft noise in collaboration with Professor Douglas Jones, with a period in between at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough as a Senior Scientific Officer. The results of his work during this phase of his career is still being used in jet engine design today.
In 1983, Dylan changed career direction due to a combination of personal circumstances. Having had some experience in helping people with the Samaritans in Dundee, and following in his father-in-law’s footsteps, he took up an interest in hypnotherapy and eventually saw his future as a therapist, including working as a hypnotist. This he did for 33 years. He has written about the subject in several books, all of which are currently3 freely available on the Internet.
Dylan never lost his interest in theoretical physics which formed the basis of his D.Phil. He continued his research in the field, and recent papers include, ‘Relating classical spinning particles to Dirac 4‐spinors’, 2002; and in 2007, ‘An Iterative Approach to Scattering by Edges and Wedges’ with Professor Anthony Rawlins.
Amongst his hobbies, Dylan listed playing chess and making chess boards, gentle country walks, cycling, and writing down the thoughts that came to him as he worked for others to read and use. The latter being a rather modest expression to describe a considerable quantity of significant writings in several fields of interest.
Dylan was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February 2011, and died after an unsuccessful operation to remove the tumour shortly afterwards on March 5th. Dylan’s funeral took place at Lawnswood Crematorium, Leeds, on March 22nd. 2011. His professional colleague Professor Anthony Rawlins4 was present and delivered the eulogy. He reflected upon how Dylan had unselfishly helped many people he had met in the course of his life because of his very empathetic nature; a sentiment that was in harmony with the feelings of the other mourners. It was a common response amongst those present that they felt a great deal of gratitude to Dylan for what he had done to help them in their lives. Describing his achievements in his own academic field, Professor Rawlins’ described Dylan’s work in mathematics and theoretical physics as being both seminal and enduring.
Dylan has contributed two written pieces to this website, as well as many photographs of Aberdare and the old Trecynon school. He also digitised photographs and magazines for display on this site. We shall certainly miss him and his contributions. He is pictured in several areas of the site, including most recently, pictures of the 2004 reunion.
Dylan ran two professional websites when he practised as a therapist, and one
of these has been preserved by his niece as a tribute to Dylan and his work in this
field. Interested past students can learn of the activities that Dylan pursued for
the last thirty years of his life by visiting this website. He also maintained his
mother’s website, and websites for chess clubs in the Leeds area. Links to
these follow but apart from the first the others may cease to exist in the future:
Archived Professional Site: www.dylanmorgan.org
Alwoodley Chess Club (website no longer functioning)
Leeds Chess Association (Dylan’s website has now been replaced)
And a website he maintained for his mother Elaine Morgan.
The death of Dr Elaine Morgan, OBE occurred on 12 July 2013. Her autobiography, Knock ’em Cold, Kid was published in September 2012.
A few years before she died she delivered a TED lecture about The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis, it can be seen here.
Dylan also contributed several videos to YouTube. Displaying an unexpected interest in the retail trade in his hometown, one of Dylan’s videos shows the inside of F.W. Woolworth & Co. in Aberdare. He made it when he heard that the store was about to close its doors for the last time.
1 The macwyaid are two boys who attend the presenter of the Hirlas Horn as she presents the Hirlas Horn to the Archdruid during the Proclamation Ceremony.
2 There is a set of photographs of the cast of the production on this website in the Music and Drama section.
3 The books are available on his Hypnotism site, (April 2011).
4 Professor Rawlins is Head of Mathematical Sciences at Brunel University.