Professor Colin Pillinger

8 May 2014

It was with profound sadness that we learned of the death of our friend and colleague, Professor Colin Pillinger.

Colin Pillinger Beagle 2
Colin with a model of Beagle 2
(Credit: Beagle 2)

Colin’s name is forever linked with the Beagle 2 mission to Mars – an ambitious project that, while it failed to deliver the science we were aiming for, really did raise the profile of space science in the UK, putting the exploration of Mars firmly in the public eye and raising the aspirations of the UK space science community.

Colin was the public face of a team that accomplished a great deal in delivering a British Mars probe, against all odds. One colleague of mine has said that working with Colin at that time is much how she imagined working with Bob Geldoff during Band Aid to be – ‘no’ was simply not an acceptable answer and when faced with it, Colin always found a way.

Colin gave unstintingly of his time to talk about his work to the media and the public, sharing his passion for planetary science, no matter how early or late the hour. He embodied enthusiasm for science and leaves a legacy of greater contact between the UK media and space science community, and overall, a higher profile for one of the UK’s most exciting areas of research.

Whilst he will be greatly missed by his friends and colleagues, our thoughts and sympathies are with his wife Judith, their daughter Shusanah and son Nicolas at this sad time.

Professor John Womersley

Science and Technology Facilities Council Switchboard: 01793 442000