It is with great sadness that we report the death of Professor Bruce Swinyard, who lost his battle with cancer on the 22nd of May. Bruce joined RAL in 1987 and became the leading figure in RAL Space’s highly successful infrared astronomy programme over many years. He was Calibration Scientist for the Long Wavelength Spectrometer on ESA’s Infrared Space Observatory (ISO; launched in 1995) and Instrument Scientist for the SPIRE instrument on ESA’s Herschel spacecraft (Launched in 2009). He was a key player on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) MIRI instrument, which is being prepared for launch and was the original European PI for the proposed SPICA infrared mission, led by Japan. He was also instrumental in devising the concept and proposing to ESA the EChO and Ariel missions, the latter of which has recently been selected by ESA for further study as a potential future mission. Bruce was Group Leader for RAL Space’s Astrophysics Group for over a decade, providing a solid foundation for instrument development, operation and exploitation, working with a number of UK universities, industrial groups and overseas institutes. He was renowned for his insight and innovation into instrument concepts and exploitation, and was an exceptional scientist. These qualities along with his dry sense of humour and to-the-point attitude endeared him to his colleagues as well as scientists world-wide. In recent years, Bruce was employed by University College London but retained his role at RAL through a joint appointment.
Bruce’s impact on the RAL Space astrophysics programme has been enormous. We have lost a brilliant scientist and leader. Our thoughts are with his wife, Margaret, and their two daughters.
For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries