Thomas Richard Carson

United Kingdom



It is with regret that we announce news that our colleague Dick Carson passed away on the 27th November, 2019.

Dick was a native of Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. He studied at Queens University Belfast, completing a PhD in atomic and molecular physics under the supervision of David Bates in 1955. After brief spells at the University of Glasgow and the UK atomic weapons research establishment, he was appointed to a lectureship in the astronomy department at St Andrews University in October 1960, and subsequently promoted to Reader in 1967. In his early career, Dick wrote foundational papers in the field of stellar opacity, which he later applied in calculations of stellar structure and pulsation. Following retirement in 1996, Dick continued his research interests for many years.

Dick had a brilliant mind that loved exploring the world of theoretical physics. He was a wonderfully kind but at the same time a very private person. He was a conscientious teacher and well-liked by his students. His contributions to astronomy — particularly the fields of stellar opacities and pulsation models for Cepheid variables — have been colossal. He will be sadly missed.

Dick was a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and member of the American Astronomical Society, the New York Academy of Sciences, the European Astronomical Society and the International Astronomical Union. He is survived by his son David and daughter-in-law Hayley.

Simon Jeffery, Tony Lynas-Gray and Ron Hilditch

Past affiliation(s) within the IAU

  • Past Member of Division G Stars and Stellar Physics
  • Past Member of Commission 35 Stellar Constitution (until 2015)
  • Past Member of Commission 36 Theory of Stellar Atmospheres (until 2015)
  • Past Member of Division IV Stars (until 2012)

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