In Memoriam: Robin Gorman (1940-2020)

Robin Gorman 1940-2020

Robin Gorman, the founder of National Astronomy Week, died on 7 October 2020.

Robin was an early member of the Hampshire Astronomical Group, joining it in 1962, and played a leading role in its development. He became its chairman in 1971. Over the years, under Robin’s chairmanship, the Group built an observatory containing a 20-inch telescope, which was opened by Patrick Moore in 1978. 

In 1979 he mooted the ambitious idea of an event to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the discovery of Uranus from Bath by William Herschel. This was a major milestone in the history of astronomy – the first planet actually to be discovered. Acting on an idea by Storm Dunlop, Robin made contact with individuals within the amateur astronomy community, including myself, and held a meeting to discuss the possibilities at the HAG observatory near Fareham. The aim was to use the anniversary to promote astronomy around the UK. This led to the first National Astronomy Week, which was then followed up by seven other events including the 2020 event.

Robin was the leading light in inspiring the subsequent events, and was always thinking ahead to the next opportunity. Following the 2014 NAW he suggested holding an event in 2020, but was unable to play any part in its organisation. 

Committee members remember his easy-going style and his soft Hampshire voice and yet his ability to bring us back to the topic when we strayed off. Sandra Voss recalls:  I remember my first meeting at the RAS as the 2003 coordinator. My train was delayed because of a tree on the line. I walked into a room of very friendly faces and felt at ease straight away. I remember Robin’s voice, so calm, so welcoming. He will be sadly missed.

We have only good memories of Robin Gorman.

Robin Scagell

Download a PowerPoint presentation by Robin Gorman about the history of National Astronomy Week.

Last Updated: 2020-10-19 11:16:32