Archive for October 19, 2020

Goodbye, John

Posted in Biographical with tags , , on October 19, 2020 by telescoper

Today, along with many other friends and colleagues, and members of his family I attended (via Zoom) the funeral of my thesis supervisor Professor John D Barrow who passed away on September 26th. This was my first experience of a funeral by Zoom and it felt very strange sitting in my office watching the proceedings. I had a quick look at the list of participants and saw many names I recognized. I suspect many of them were taking a short break from work too. The list was long, so it was a good turnout, virtually speaking. At least some of the closest family members were able to be there, at Westminster College in Cambridge, to pay tribute. The Astronomy Royal, Lord Rees, was also present and he gave a characteristically eloquent eulogy.

Not being of the Christian faith I didn’t participate in the prayers, but as the coffin was carried out at the end for the committal I found myself saying out loud “Goodbye, John”. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank John’s family, especially Elizabeth, for giving me this chance to say goodbye.

UPDATE: An obituary of John, written by Michael Rown-Robinson, is now available online on the Guardian website.