Robert Methven Petrie

Robert Methven Petrie, astronomer (b at St Andrews, Scot 15 May 1906; d at Victoria 8 Apr 1966). Brought to Canada by his parents in 1911, Petrie became interested in astronomy at high school and was encouraged by J.S. PLASKETT.

Robert Methven Petrie

Robert Methven Petrie, astronomer (b at St Andrews, Scot 15 May 1906; d at Victoria 8 Apr 1966). Brought to Canada by his parents in 1911, Petrie became interested in astronomy at high school and was encouraged by J.S. PLASKETT. After studying at UBC and Michigan, he joined the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, Victoria, in 1935, when Plaskett retired, and stayed there (except while in the RCN during WWII) for the rest of his life, becoming director in 1951 and the last Dominion Astronomer in 1964. His studies of spectroscopic binaries and the motions and distances of hot B-type stars won international acclaim. When he died, he was planning the construction of a very large Canadian telescope. He was the first Canadian astronomer to become a VP of the International Astronomical Union (1958-64).