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Dr. Alan Astbury

25 July 2014

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Dr. Alan Astbury, former TRIUMF Director from 1994 through 2001. Alan passed away yesterday morning, Monday, July 21st, after a brief illness. He will be sadly missed by his family, friends, colleagues and the physics community at large.

Alan was appointed Director of TRIUMF in 1994. He strengthened TRIUMF's reputation as a prime institution for subatomic research and redefined the priorities of its program. Alan advanced TRIUMF's rare isotope beam program by developing the ISAC facility. He furthered Canadian participation in international particle physics projects by arranging Canada's contribution to the LHC. His leadership and achievements have been widely recognized in Canada and abroad.

Jonathan A. Bagger, Director




Dr. Alan Astbury, Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Victoria, died on July 21 following a brief illness.  Alan, a leading figure in Canadian science, served as Director of TRIUMF from 1994-2001.  

His distinguished career began in the U.K.  Born in Crewe, he obtained his Ph.D. at Liverpool and, following postdoctoral work at Berkeley, was a scientist at the Rutherford Laboratory from 1963-1983.  He served as co-spokesperson of the UA1 collaboration at CERN, whose discovery of the W and Z bosons confirmed the unification of the electromagnetic and weak forces and led to a Nobel Prize.  Alan came to Victoria in 1983 as the R.M. Pearce Chair of Physics, and established a strong particle physics group through experiments at SLAC and CERN.  He was Director of the Canadian Institute of Particle Physics from 1991-1995.  As Director of TRIUMF, he secured increased federal investment in the lab, built the ISAC facility and provided substantial Canadian contributions to the LHC accelerator and the ATLAS detector.

Following his retirement, Alan served as President of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) from 2005-2008.  He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the British Royal Society, was awarded the Rutherford Medal of the Institute of Physics, the Lifetime Achievement medal from the Canadian Association of Physicists, and the BC Science Council Career Achievement Award.  Alan held honorary degrees from the Universities of Liverpool and Victoria and from Simon Fraser University.

Alan animated the lives of his friends and colleagues with his energy, integrity, commitment and humour - he will be sorely missed.  He is survived by his wife, Kathy, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Gillian.  You are invited to vist the  online guestbook

An event commemorating his life and career is being planned and will be announced separately.