Harvey B. Richer




Harvey B. Richer (1944-2023)

Canada lost one of its leading astrophysicists when Harvey Richer, Professor Emeritus in the UBC Physics and Astronomy Department, died on 13 November 2023. He earned his BSc at McGill in 1965, his PhD at the University of Rochester in 1970 and joined UBC that same year. Harvey began his sustained 53-year research career with studies of the highly luminous Carbon stars, a subject he had recently returned to as another tool to estimate the age of the Universe. Throughout his career Harvey gained competitive access to the most advanced space- and ground-based telescopes, primarily to characterize stars in the globular star clusters that surround our Galaxy. His studies of these ancient stellar systems provided fundamental estimates of the age of the Universe, the density of dark matter, and the dynamics and formation of galaxies and of the globular clusters themselves. His contributions on the cooling curves of white dwarf stars were particularly ground breaking. Among his many external interests, he was an enthusiastic numismatist who wrote two authoritative books on Newfoundland gold coins and on Canada’s top 100 coins and tokens. Harvey mentored generations of graduate students and younger faculty and established a gold medal for Early Career Research in Astronomy. Above all, he was a lively, warm and friendly colleague who is greatly missed.

Gordon Walker and Greg Fahlman (for the Royal Society of Canada)

Additional References:
Fondly Remembered: Professor Harvey B. Richer, (November 22, 2023)
Department of Physics & Astronomy, Vancouver Campus

Past affiliation(s) within the IAU

  • Past Member of Division G Stars and Stellar Physics (until 2023)
  • Past Member of Division H Interstellar Matter and Local Universe (until 2023)
  • Past Member of Division J Galaxies and Cosmology (until 2023)
  • Past Member of Commission 28 Galaxies (until 2015)
  • Past Member of Commission 37 Star Clusters & Associations (until 2015)
  • Past Member of Division VII Galactic System (until 2012)
  • Past Member of Division VIII Galaxies & the Universe (until 2012)

Areas of interest

7 - Planetary systems: 7.11 - Protoplanetary disks
8 - Stars: 8.4 - Stars: binaries, 8.11 - Stars: evolution, 8.15 - Stars: Hertzsprung-Russell and C-M diagrams, 8.35 - Stars: subdwarfs, 8.39 - Stars: white dwarfs
10 - The Galaxy: 10.9 - Galaxy: globular clusters: general

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