Professor Sir Arnold Wolfendale, FRS

Professor Sir Arnold Wolfendale

We are very sorry to announce the passing of Professor Sir Arnold Wolfendale, FRS,who passed away on 21 December 2020.

Arnold Wolfendale was a Professor of Physics of at Durham University from 1965 to 1992. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1973 (being President 1981-1983), a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1977 and served as Astronomer Royal from 1991 to 1995. He was knighted in 1995 and served as President of the European Physical Society from 1999 to 2001.

He was well known for his development of two novel techniques: the neon flash tube and the ‘solid iron’ spectrograph. Together with colleagues from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, and Osaka City University, Sir Arnold developed largescale underground detectors to detect cosmic rays and in 1965 reported the discovery of the first atmospheric neutrinos in the Kolar Gold Fields Experiment.

The various measurements Sir Arnold made – the neutrino, muon, proton, pion and neutron spectra – together made it possible to estimate the primary spectrum of cosmic rays at the top of the atmosphere. As Head of the Department of Physics, Sir Arnold revived the subject of astronomy in Durham, and redirected the experimental efforts in bubble chambers towards adaptive optics.

Sir Arnold was also a great friend of ECLAS, and spoke to us in 2014 about his return to the Christian faith.

Sir Arnold’s funeral is due to take place at Durham Crematorium on 11 January at 1pm. The service will be taken by our Chief Project Director, Professor David Wilkinson. Due to current Covid restrictions the number of people who can attend in person is by invitation of the family only; however, the service will be streamed and available live or at a later time via web link:
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