Robert Black was born in 1925 and educated at Eltham College, Kent and King's College, London. In 1945 he joined the Research Department of BICC Limited as a research chemist, later carrying out part-time research under A.J. Lindsay on chemiluminescence at the Sir John Cass College. This led to the degree of MSc in 1949 and PhD in 1953. From 1954 to 1956 he was seconded to the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell to work under Arthur Charlesby on the radiation chemistry of polymers. On returning to BICC in London he became head of the Physical Chemistry Department until 1968 when he was appointed personal assistant to the Director of Research. He retired in 1978. He is the author or co-author of over forty scientific and technical papers in the fields of analytical and radiation chemistry and dielectric phenomena and author of the Science Museum booklet Electrical Cables in Victorian Times, also of The History of Electric Wires and Cables and of Five English Alchemists. Dr. Black lives in West London, is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Early Chemistry.