Hector Robert Adam, metallurgist, obtained the degree Bachelor of Science (BSc) at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and later was elected a Fellow of the (British) Institute of Chemistry. By 1910 he was in South Africa, for in that year he became a member of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa. He served as president of the society for 1926/7, and was still a member of its council for 1940/1. In 1912 he became a member also of the South African Chemical Institute, serving as a member of its council from 1922 to 1926, and as honorary secretary for 1924/5.
Adam was employed at the South African School of Mines and Technology (from 1922 the University of the Witwatersrand) as assistant lecturer and demonstrator in metallurgy and assaying, under Professor George H. Stanley*. During the nineteen-twenties he was a senior lecturer in the Department of Analytical and Research Chemistry under Professor J.A. Wilkinson*, and among others conducted research on flotation as a means for seperating minerals. His publications included the following: 'The treatment of antimonial gold ore from the Murchison Range' (South African Mining Journal, 1915), 'Ancient tin mines of the Transvaal' (Journal of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa, 1919), 'A note on a new palladium mineral from Potgietersrust platinum fields' (Ibid, 1927), 'Notes on platimum group minerals from Rustenburg and Potgietersrust districts, Transvaal' (Transactions of the Geological Society of South Africa, 1930), 'Bestimmung von platinmetallen in erzen und konzentraten' (with C.W. Davis, Zeitschrift fuer Analitische Chemie, 1930), and 'A note on the minerals cooperite and braggite occurring in platiniferous concentrates from the Transvaal' (Journal of the Chemical, Metallurgical and Mining Society of South Africa, 1933).
Adam was married to Annie Gertrude Reed, with whom he had a daughter. After her death in 1933 he married Violet Joyce Paul, who survived him.