[ASA] Peter McGregor

Matthew Colless matthew.colless at anu.edu.au
Thu Mar 5 17:25:19 AEDT 2015

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great sadness that we report the passing on 5 March 2015 of Professor Peter McGregor of the Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics, ANU, after a battle with cancer.

Peter was well known throughout the astronomy community for both his scientific research and his astronomical instrumentation. He was Project Scientist for NIFS, Australia's first instrument for the Gemini 8-metre telescopes, and for GSAOI, Australia's second Gemini instrument. The scientific productivity of these instruments will remain part of his legacy. He was also Project Scientist for GMTIFS, one of the first generation of instruments being developed for the Giant Magellan Telescope.

Peter had the misfortune to see the first version of NIFS destroyed in the 2003 Stromlo bushfires when it was almost ready for acceptance. Undeterred, he oversaw the fabrication of the second version and its commissioning on Gemini-North.  Peter also played a substantial role in the reconstruction of Mount Stromlo after the fires, and the current Advanced Instrumentation and Techology Centre is largely the result of his vision.  The Integration Hall at the AITC was recently named in his honour.

Peter received his PhD at Stromlo 1981 and, other than a two-year period as Carnegie Fellow in Pasadena, spent his career at Mount Stromlo. He was known for his keen eye for the critical issue, an uncompromising attention to detail, and for his expectation of nothing but the best from his science collaborators and from his instrumentation colleagues. He was a wonderful colleague and will be greatly missed.

Peter is survived by his wife Siew-Gim and son Sam. The funeral is expected to be held next Wednesday morning (11 March) - further details to follow. Siew-Gim has suggested that, rather than flowers, people may like to donate to a fund for a PhD scholarship or similar in memory of Peter - again, details to follow.

Matthew Colless, Gary Da Costa, Ken Freeman, Roger Franzen, John Norris

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