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Prof. Steve Rawlings (1961-2012)

Submitter: Michael Garrett
Description: On the 29th of February 2012, a memorial service was held for Prof. Steven Rawlings (1961-2012). Steve was chair of the ASTRON Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and one of the best liked and most respected researchers in the fields of astrophysics and radio astronomy. His contribution to the SKA project was immense, and made at many different levels.

The memorial service was held in Oxford, at St. Peter’s college and was attended by well over 300 of Steve’s colleagues and friends, including several people from ASTRON. The service was simple but supported by an excellent choir and organist. It opened with the beautiful hymm "Lord of all hopefulness" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--Kh9ACX7BE&feature=related

Several friends of Steve gave remembrance speeches at the service, including Matt Jarvis. Readings were made, and an especially poignant, instrumental rendition of “Wish you were here” (Pink Floyd) was played e.g. http://www.linkinpark.com/video/pink-floyd-wish-you-were-here

After the service, refreshments were served in the senior common room. People did not want to leave, and later in the evening a large ensemble of friends and family made a pilgrimage to the Royal Oak - an eighteenth century inn that Steve would often invite visitors to.

There were many anecdotes to tell that day but Matt Jarvis told one that really reminded me of the kind of sensitive, caring and generous person Steve was. He recalled Steve’s advice to a PhD student that was working flat round the clock on a problem that seemed to be intractable - Steve’s advice was: "Don't stop doing the things that make life worth living".

It seems like good advice to us all.
Copyright: ASTRON
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