Reynold Young

(1886-1977) DO/DAO astronomer; DDO director (1935-45); Society President (1932-33).

REYNOLD K. YOUNG (1886-1977) was described by his colleague, J.F. Heard, as an "astronomer's astronomer." He graduated from the University of Toronto with the RASC Gold Medal in 1909 and then went to Lick Observatory and the University of California for his Ph.D. While there he married the daughter of R.G. Aitken, famed for his double star work. She herself was a graduate in astronomy. The Youngs moved to Kansas where he lectured in Astronomy and Physics at the University for a couple of years before accepting an appointment at the DO in Ottawa. When the DAO opened in 1918, Young joined the staff and did most of his work on the determination of spectroscopic parallaxes in collaboration with W.E. Harper.

C.A. Chant, who of course had known Young since his student days, got to know him even better during a long voyage to Australia for the 1922 solar eclipse and not long after their return, Chant offered Young the opportunity to come to Toronto as his assistant Young accepted and proved to be a great asset, especially for his skill in optical and mechanical work. During the years 1926-28 and entirely in his spare time, Young completely built a 48 cm reflector, still in use today at the DDO. The experience and expertise he gained in the project was invaluable once plans began for the observatory at Richmond Hill. He was Director from Chant's retirement in 1935 until 1945.

Young generously did his part for the RASC, serving Victoria Centre successively as Vice-President, President and Secretary. He was on the Toronto Centre Council from 1935-44 and was Vice-President and President of the Society during the years 1926-33. Though he was a very quiet person and did not enjoy giving public lectures, he evidently saw it as a duty and spoke over 20 times to Centres in Victoria, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Hamilton.

Peter Broughton (from Looking Up)

Further Reading

Young, Reynold K.