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Donald Lynden-Bell, 5 April 1935 – 5 February 2018

last modified Feb 07, 2018 02:35 PM

We are very saddened to report that Professor Donald Lynden-Bell died peacefully at home on the 5th February 2018.

Donald Lynden-Bell was Professor of Astrophysics at the Institute of Astronomy from 1972-1997 and served several terms as Director. He was a pioneering figure in the field of stellar dynamics and made fundamental contributions to many areas of astrophysics, including the theory of accretion discs, formation and chemical evolution of our Galaxy, statistical mechanics of gravitating systems, active galactic nuclei and large scale streaming motions in the Universe. In retirement, Donald continued an active programme of research in stellar dynamics, classical General Relativity and relativistic jets. He won many awards throughout his career, including the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society and the first Kavli Prize for Astrophysics awarded jointly with Maarten Schmidt in 2008. Donald was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1978 and was made a CBE in 2000.

Donald was a pivotal figure in Cambridge Astronomy. We will all miss his joyous character, his contagious enthusiasm and widespread interest in all areas of astronomy.

Prof Donald Lynden-Bell (centre) and Prof Maarten Schmidt (left) receiving the inaugural Kavli Prize for Astrophysics in 2008.