Institute of Astronomy

David W. Dewhirst (1926-2012)

Published on 08/01/2016 

IoA astronomer David W. Dewhirst (1926-2012) has been recognised by an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB).  The entry, written by Simon Mitton, records David's many contributions to astronomy. 

Apart from numerous trips to observatories abroad, David's entire career was based in Cambridge, he started as an undergraduate at Christ's College in 1944, and obtained a postion at the Cambridge Observatory in 1950.

In the 1950's David played an important role  in the optical identification of radio sources. He was also involved in the study of solar granulation from balloon-mounted intruments.  He was closely involved with both the libraries of the IoA, and the RAS, and Cambridge University Library.  In 1964 he brought out a new edition of the standard bibliography of astronomy.  David made a significant contribution to the history of astronomy, through many papers and book chapters.  He was also involved in the public understanding of astronomy, as a Gresham Professor (1976-79) and in many public talks and radio appearances.  As fellow of Corpus Christi, he served as bursar twice, and was tutor for graduate admissions (1973 to 1981).

There is an good likeness (a bronze head) of David in Library Room A of the Observatory building.

The ODNB article can be read here:  David Dewhirst


Page last updated: 8 January 2016 at 12:00