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Thank you, Dr. John R. Percy!

Thank you, Dr. John R. Percy!

We can only say thank you to John for all he has done (and still is doing) for the AAVSO, variable star astronomy, and education, and for combining these three to create a legacy all of us - and a great many more beyond the AAVSO and the variable star world - will continue to benefit from in the future.

In John’s long and distinguished career as an educator and researcher at the University of Toronto, he has taught and mentored countless undergraduate and graduate students. He has also involved many high school students in astronomy research, teaching them the fundamentals of scientific research, writing, presenting, and publishing, often using the data (and particularly the visual data) from the AAVSO International Database and publishing in JAAVSO (more than 60 articles). His focus on pulsating variables has led to discoveries about long period variables and their component stars as well as to innovative methods of analyzing their data.

He has been a powerful advocate for education and science education not only locally and in Canada but also internationally through his leadership and work in the International Astronomical Union, Canadian Astronomical Society, American Astronomical Society, AAVSO, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, and the Royal Canadian Institute for Science. Awards recognizing his contributions include 

-the Canadian Astronomical Society’s Qilak Award for Astronomy Communications, Public Education and Outreach (inaugural year)

the American Astronomical Society’s Education Prize

the University of Toronto President’s Teaching Award (inaugural year)

the AAVSO’s William Tyler Olcott Distinguished Service Award

In the AAVSO, John has been a colleague and an active participant since 1980, using AAVSO data and helping to further the AAVSO’s goals. In 1983, he was a co-creator of the AAVSO Photoelectric Photometry (PEP) Committee and Program to formalize program stars, charts, and software for the acquisition and reduction of PEP data for the AAVSO; John served as PEP advisor and editor of the AAVSO PEP Newsletter for 23 years. He served as a member of the AAVSO Education and Outreach Committee, and for eleven years on the AAVSO Council, eight of them as an officer, including President in 1989-1991. He and Janet Mattei together created the AAVSO’s Hands-On Astrophysics curriculum to teach the scientific learning process using variable star observing and data and co-directed its program. In the countless presentations he has given, wherever possible he has used AAVSO data and resources and has extolled the possibilities of amateur-professional collaborations.

John’s high standards of excellence in communicating research results and encouraging participation in astronomy show not only through his nearly 500 publications but also through his excellent astronomy textbook, his dedicated work in editing conference proceedings (two of them related to the AAVSO), his many contributions to the AAVSO Newsletter, his Editorials in JAAVSO, and his serving for ten years as JAAVSO Editor, from which position he will officially exit on October 1, 2019.

For over 50 years John has shared his fascination for and love of the universe with countless people of all ages and backgrounds and has enriched their lives through this connection. Today, as Professor Emeritus, he is continuing this sharing by teaching life-long learners through the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

We are very grateful to John, and we are very proud to be able to include him among our AAVSO members, colleagues, and friends.

Note: Please be sure to read the citation accompanying the AAVSO William Tyler Olcott Distinguished Service Award for public education and outreach presented to John in 2007. 

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