Alan Batten

(1933-) DAO astronomer (1959-91); Society President (1976-78); JRASC Editor (1980-88).

ALAN H. BATTEN (1933-) received his B.Sc. degree from St Andrew's University in Scotland and his Ph.D. from the University of Manchester. He came to Canada in 1959, originally on a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, and remained there for his entire professional career, retiring as a Senior Research Officer in 1991.

He soon settled into life in Victoria, marrying in 1960 and joining the RASC Centre in 1962. This was the start of a long and very active association with the Society, including a term as President of the Centre 1970-72 and of the national Society 1976-78, and as Editor of the Journal 1980-88. During his term as President. he visited all 18 Centres, speaking in French when appropriate and always delighting his audience with his talent as a raconteur. Alan Batten received the Service Award in 1988 for his extensive and energetic contribution to the well-being of the Society.

Professionally, he took a special interest in radial velocities and binary stars, publishing over 100 papers and a book entitled Binary and Multiple Systems of Stars. His very significant work was marked by a D.Sc. from St Andrew's in 1974 and election to the Royal Society of Canada in 1977. He then began to delve into the history of the famous Struve family, and this ultimately led to another book, Resolute and Undertaking Characters in 1988. Several of his papers on famous astronomers have enriched the pages of the Journal for both amateur and professional readers.

Dr Batten's administrative abilities have also benefited ASP, CASCA, of which he was President 1972-74, and the IAU of which he was Vice-President 1985-91. He has organized a number of international symposia and headed the organizing committee for the IAU General Assembly in Montreal in 1979.

Peter Broughton (from Looking Up)

Further Reading

  • A Half-Century of Astronomy Viewed from the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, JRASC (October 2008)
  • JRASC articles by Alan Batten
  • Book Review: Resolute and Undertaking Characters, JHA (June 1989)
Batten, Alan H.