R. I. P. John Brown (1947-2019)

It’s a very sad way to start the week but I have to convey the news that the Astronomer Royal for Scotland, John Brown, passed away suddenly on Saturday 16th November.

John (pictured above just after he received the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2012) was an expert on the physics of solar and stellar plasmas. He was also an enthusiastic and dedicated teacher and advocate for science, giving memorably ebullient public talks to a diverse range of audiences in which he often included conjuring tricks (of which he was a skilled exponent). He was awarded an OBE in 2016 for services to science and outreach.

Above all else he was a very kindly and affable character who was universally liked, was great fun to be around, and who will be greatly missed within the astronomical community and beyond.

I send my heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at the University of Glasgow on the loss of a much loved and irreplaceable character.

Rest in peace, John Campbell Brown (1947-2019).


5 Responses to “R. I. P. John Brown (1947-2019)”

  1. telescoper Says:

    For the benefit of potential commenters, here is an excerpt from my comments policy as displayed on the front page of this blog:

    Feel free to comment on any of the posts on this blog but comments may be moderated; anonymous comments and any considered by me to be abusive will not be accepted.

  2. I confess that I had no idea there was an Astronomer Royal for Scotland. It led me to wonder if there was one for Wales, Northern Ireland, or anywhere else, but as far as I can tell there are just the Astronomer Royal and the Astronomer Royal for Scotland.

    Apparently there was a Royal Astronomer of Ireland until 1966 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunsink_Observatory#Directors). It must have been odd to hold that title after Ireland became a Republic.

  3. Anton Garrett Says:

    John was great. I had very good discussions with him on much more than physics during my postdoc at Glasgow (1988-91). I am very sorry he is gone.

  4. […] Heymans is the 11th Astronomer Royal for Scotland, succeeding Professor John Brown who passed away in 2019. She is also the first female holder of the title, in the 187 years since it was […]

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