Dr R J O (Bob) Reid

Colleagues will be sorry to learn of the death, on 18 May 2023, of Dr Bob Reid, a former academic member of the Astrophysics Group within the School of Physics and Astronomy.

Dr Reid joined the Department of Physics in 1962 after completing a PhD on cosmic rays whilst holding a lectureship at the University College of the West Indies in Jamaica. He was a leading member of the Haverah Park group, the site for which was the location of the UK’s efforts to study the highest-energy cosmic-rays, a joint endeavour involving physicists from the Durham, Imperial College, Leeds and Nottingham. The cosmic rays studied were detected using an array of water-Cherenkov counters spread over 12 km2 on moorland to the west of Harrogate. When Bob arrived, only a small part of the array had been built and he played a leading role in getting the additional 150 water-Cherenkov detectors, each holding 2.2 tonnes of clear water, deployed and made operational. The array ran for 20 years, closing in 1987, with the measurements of the energy spectrum, the mass composition and arrival distribution of the cosmic rays, the responsibility of the Leeds team, which remained the best available for a further 15 years.  

Bob served for one year as an acting warden at Bodington Hall and was the advisor to Overseas Students for several. He was a devoted teacher who particularly enjoyed lecturing on Mechanics and Statistics, taking early retirement in 1989 after twenty-seven years’ service to the University.

A private family funeral and a Celebration of Bob’s life will be held on Monday 12 June, on which day the flag on the Parkinson Building will be flown at half-mast in Bob’s memory.

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