Newsletter Editor editor at igpp.ucla.edu
Thu Jan 16 17:00:48 PST 2020

Volume XXVII, Issue 5


Table of Contents

1. Alan S. Rodger (1951 - 2020)


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Alan S. Rodger (1951 - 2020)

From: Richard Horne, John Dudeney, Mike Pinnock (rh at bas.ac.uk)

It is with great sadness that Professor Alan Rodger, Editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research (Space Physics) and former Interim Director of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) passed away on 3rd January 2020.  

Alan was brought up in Edinburgh, Scotland.  After completing his degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Manchester he joined the BAS in 1972 and completed two winters at the Argentine Islands station (now the Ukranian Antarctic Research Station Vernadsky).  He acquired the nickname “Florence” because of his care and skill in nursing one of his companions who had suffered a serious injury in the middle of winter.  His compassion and care for others marked him out as someone special.

On returning to BAS he built an international reputation, publishing over 91 research papers and collaborating widely.  Alan worked on a number of problems in magnetosphere-ionosphere physics combining ground based observations at Halley with satellite data such as DE-2.  He became well known for his work on the mid-latitude ionospheric trough and his review paper became one of his most highly cited papers.  When the first SuperDARN radar was installed at Halley (originally called PACE) he was quick to exploit it.  He used radars to study the ionospheric footprint of the cusp, and put forward a theory for the formation of polar patches - pointing out that a large dawn-dusk component of the interplanetary magnetic field plays a key part in their formation.  His research was recognised by a DSc from the University of Manchester and a visiting professorship at Aberystwyth University.  

Alan broadened his research into climate change and became Head of Science Programmes and then Interim Director of BAS during a difficult period.  He provided the leadership and direction that was needed.  He served on international committees, particularly the Science Advisory Board of the Birkland Centre for Space Science in Norway. 

In retirement Alan was a dedicated Editor of JGR Space Physics for 6 years, shepherding over 1300 manuscripts through the editorial process and providing insightful contributions to publication policy and practice.

Alan also served on the board of Governors for various schools and contributed to local Council work.  He was a modest, quiet and gentle man who always had time for others and a passion for cricket and golf.  He dealt with his debilitating illness with dignity and calmness, never letting it get the better of him.  He leaves behind his wife Mary, sons Chris and Alex and a grandchild.  He will be sadly missed.

His funeral will be on Friday 24th January at the City of Cambridge Crematorium at 11.00am, and afterwards at BAS there will be a celebration of his life.  The funeral will be live-streamed (please contact Kate Smithson (Kason at bas.ac.uk) if you'd like details). The family have asked that you wear cheerful colours to the funeral, rather than black. No flowers please but please consider a donation to the Arthur Rank Hospice instead.

If you would like to share any anecdotes with us, please send to Richard Horne (rh at bas.ac.uk) who is co-ordinating on behalf of the family.

Condolences can be sent to Alan’s wife at Mary.Rodger32 at gmail.com.


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