Dr. John R. Percy (2013-2017)
Dr. Percy is one of the outstanding builders of the RASC. He has served as National President (1978-80), as editor of the Observer’s Handbook (1970-1980), and has won the RASC Gold Medal (1962) and the Service Award (1977). His service to the RASC also included many other formal and informal jobs at the national level and in the Toronto Centre.
Dr. Percy has established himself as an authority in the field of variable stars, having written extensively on the topic, including Understanding Variable Stars, published in 2007 by Cambridge University Press. He has also served as president of the AAVSO and of the IAU’s Commission on Variable Stars.
One of Dr. Percy’s biggest contributions to astronomy is in the field of astronomy education and outreach. He has written extensively on this topic, and he has given innumerable talks on astronomy to audiences in every part of the country. He earned three degrees at the University of Toronto, including a Ph.D. in astronomy, and he served for many years as a member of the faculty at the U of T.
A much longer citation would be required to do justice to Dr. Percy’s work advancing astronomy. As suggested above, he has been involved in many organizations dedicated to astronomy in Canada and around the world. He has strengthened the relationships between the RASC and other organizations such as CASCA, the FAAQ, and many other governmental and educational organizations. Dr. Percy recently published his reflections on his work in astronomy outreach on page 240 of the December 2012 issue of the Journal of the RASC.
For more than a century The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada has recognized the work of outstanding astronomers by appointing them as Honorary Members of the Society. By their acceptance of these appointments these distinguished individuals honour the Society more than we can honour them. There may be no more than 15 Honorary Members, and the appointments are for life. Honorary Members receive Society publications, but cannot vote or hold office. The Society hopes that its Honorary Members can occasionally attend meetings of the Society and contribute to the Journal. Indeed many of them have done so.
The Order of Canada was established in Canada's Centennial Year, 1967, and is the centrepiece of Canada's system of honours and recognizes excellence and achievement in all sectors of Canadian Society. There are three levels as follows:
- Companion (Post-nominal: C.C.)—Recognizes: a lifetime of outstanding achievement and merit of the highest degree, especially in service to Canada or to humanity at large
- Officer (Post-nominal: O.C.)—Recognizes: a lifetime of achievement and merit of a high degree, especially in service to Canada or to humanity at large
- Member (Post-nominal: C.M.)—Recognizes: a lifetime of distinguished service in or to a particular community, group or field of activity
Members of the Society who are appointed to the Order of Canada for their contributions to astronomy bring honour to the Society and all of our members across the country.