TV scientist Dr Magnus Pyke has died peacefully in a nursing home. He

was 83.

The television personality, known for his extravagant gesticulations

and lively chatter, died on Monday at the home in Putney, south-west

London, said his daughter, Mrs Bessie White.

Dr Pyke found national fame in the 1970s as presenter of the science

programme Don't Ask Me. He wrote more than 20 books in an effort to make

the world of science more understandable.

At the age of 67 he won the Pye award for best newcomer to television,

after retiring from a career as a food scientist and nutritionist.

A widower -- his wife Dorothea died six years ago -- Dr Pyke leaves

two children, Bessie and John, and three grandchildren.

''He would like to be remembered as a communicator -- someone who was

very keen and very good at getting information over clearly, and cutting

through nonsense,'' said Mrs White.

London-born Magnus Pyke learned at St Paul's School that he had a good

memory and a ''certain bounciness combined with a lack of

self-consciousness'' which never left him, he wrote in his

autobiography, The Six Lives of Pyke.

Sometimes dubbed the ''windmill man'' because he flailed his arms to

emphasise points, he once commented: ''I just go on with telling the

viewers what I want them to know -- and I simply don't bother about how

I look while explaining it.''

As principal scientific officer at the Ministry of Food during the

Second World War, he once startled Food Minister Lord Woolton by

suggesting we should eke out rations by making black pudding out of

surplus human blood plasma.

He was one of the scientists behind the scheme to introduce

vitamin-rich rosehip syrup as a substitute for imported orange juice.

Later he forged a career in industry, heading the Glenochil Research

Station in Menstrie, Clackmannanshire, where he was concerned with

quality of manufactured food.

From 1973-1977, he chaired the council of the British Association for

the Advancement of Science.

Dr Pyke received an OBE in 1978.