Archive for Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory

R.I.P. Richard Hills (1945-2022)

Posted in Biographical, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on June 7, 2022 by telescoper

Yet again I find myself having to pass on some sad news. I heard yesterday that Professor Richard Hills FRS lately at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory of the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, passed away on 5th June at the age of 76. Richard was a specialist in radio and sub-mm astronomy, being heavily involved in the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT) and more recently the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA; shown in the background above).

I remember two encounters with Richard particularly well.

The first was when I was an undergraduate student at Cambridge. I did a final-year theory project that involved making a computer simulation of a laser. I had to attend a viva voce examination with two members of staff after submitting my project report. Richard was the one of the pair and, although it was not his specialist subject, he seemed genuinely interested in what I’d done. He managed to ask some very searching questions at the same time as being very friendly and encouraging. I must have answered quite well because they gave me a very good mark!

The other was much more recent occasion when I gave a seminar at the Cavendish about phase correlations in cosmological fields. As an expert in interferometry he knew a lot about this from a different perspective and again he asked some very interesting questions, ending up with a discussion of the closure phase.

Richard Hills was a very eminent scientist who made a huge range of contributions to astronomy, for which he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2014. He will be greatly missed by his friends, family and colleagues in Cambridge and around the world to whom I send my condolences.

R.I.P. Richard Edwin Hills (1945-2022)