Tim Hawarden

We got some bad news a few days back – Tim Hawarden died, rather suddenly. This is a real loss to UK astronomy, as well as to ROE and to UKIRT. There is an obituary on the ROE web page, very nicely put together by Ian Robson. The family requested flowers from family only, but suggested an appropriate charity instead. If any other readers remember Tim, you could also consider this charity :

Pegasus Children’s Trust of South Africa,
c/o Mrs Judy Westwater, 118A Bruce Gardens,
Dalmeigh, Inverness IV3 5BE

Ian Robson has suggested we add anecdotes to the website. This is what I will shortly be sending in :

Some years back, outside a tourist shop in Kyoto, I took a swig from a can of coke, only to be stung by a bee that had just landed inside the can. I spat out the bee, but it still hurt like hell. Tim whipped out his pocket knife, looked me in the eye, and said firmly “Open your mouth wide and keep very still”. He exuded such a bold confidence I did exactly what he said. Tim  gently dug into the soft flesh in the roof of my mouth, then proudly showed me the sting on the blade of his knife. “Wow” I said, “where did you learn to do that ?” There then followed a big jolly Tim-type laugh. “Well…” he said, “I have never done that before. But it seemed better not to mention this until after I’d finished !”

5 Responses to Tim Hawarden

  1. Mr Physicist says:

    A sad loss at a relatively young age these days. Sympathies to his family and friends. I liked the “bee anecdote” – I will carefully look in my Coke cans in future!

  2. Tom Kerr says:

    Tim’s passing shocked us all out here at the coalface. I had a long and very pleasant chat with him at the recent UKIRT meeting at the ROE and he seemed as fit, enthusiastic and jolly as ever. It was so nice to catch up with him again and then the appalling news two months later…


  3. Dave says:

    Shocked and sad to hear this – my deepest condolences to his family and friends.

    I always looked forward to chatting with Tim on trips to Hawaii. He always had something interesting going on, whether it was helping to revolutionize space IR astronomy with passive cooling or brilliant but insane schemes like GISMO. As well as that, I also used to talk to him about science fiction. I almost got him along as a science guest to one of the Glasgow Worldcons, but clashing schedules prevented that. I guess I always thought there’d be another chance…

  4. […] You can read his obituary at the ROE website, or read some more personal recollections at Andy Lawrence’s blog. […]

  5. Glenn White says:

    I knew Tim for more than 30 years, since the earliest days of mapping the optical Universe with photograph emulsions with the SAAO Telescopes at Sutherland and the UK Schmidt Telescope at Coonabarabran – through to the exciting years of exploring the newly accessible near and far infrared Universe with the UKIRT telescope – and beyond… His contribution to the development and use of these facilities is indelibly etched on the successes of the generation(s) of scientists who have followed. Tim’s legacy in pushing the envelope of modern astronomy was immense – his contributions ranged from fundamental work to establish standard calibration sequences that have benefited the whole of the astronomical community, through to his vision, leadership and development of innovative new ground and space based projects aimed toward the search for exo-earths – before most of the community had even heard of the word ‘exoplanet’. His work on new space mission projects such as ISOCAM, EDISON, GISMO, and on next generation ground based telescope instruments for UKIRT, the ELT, was pivotal to the evolution of modern astronomy. Tim’s astronomical research included innovative work on star clusters and red giant stars, and the structure of nearby galaxies, and provided important new insights to the physics of the nearby Universe. Astronomy aside, I remember Tim as a really nice, friendly, gregarious and approachable friend with a deep enthusiasm, joie de vivre, and inquisitiveness about the physical world surrounding us. I regret that I will never again have a chance to enjoy a passing chat with Tim in a corridor in some distant land.

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