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David Sinden Remembered


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The 29th August marks the anniversary of the passing of David Sinden former chief optician at Grubb Parsons, Newcastle. Although not large by today's standards David worked on many telescopes which at the time represented the cutting edge of telescope technology. These included the Anglo Australian Telescope (now renamed the Australian Astronomical Telescope), The Isaac Newton Telescope and the United Kingdom Infra-red Telescope (UKIRT).  After leaving Grubb Parsons David went on to establish his own very successful business, the Sinden Optical company. Despite his pedigree David used to refer to himself as an amateur and always gave feely of his time and knowledge. Meeting David was an unforgettable experience such was the nature of the man.

The attached image shows David (wearing a waistcoat) with the 72 inch mirror for the Helwan Telescope Egypt.

To find out more about David and Grubb Parsons please have a look at my website: https://sites.google.com/site/grubbparsons/home

Thanks for looking.

John

helwan 20.jpg

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That is a great image in itself.
I will take a read of the link this evening, thanks for posting.

I have now watched it, what a great TV clip, they did him proud.

 

 

Edited by Alan White
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Many thanks John, it was enjoyable to watch.

Circa 1977 Grubb Parsons made the 150" mirror for the Infra Red Flux Collecter. The company for which I worked was involved with that , and I attended a meeting at Dunford Hadfields where the telescope structure was made, before the whole was shipped to Mauna Kea in Hawaii. Several personnel from my company were involved in the commissioning process out there, but I was just 18 months out of my apprenticeship so I missed out. I had hoped to visit the Grubb Parsons factory, but that did not happen either.

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He will never be forgotten by those who knew him, good memories for so many reasons. We were honoured to have him as a member of our Centre and always looked forward to his visits. Whilst at his premises David showed me the cores from some of the giant mirrors that he was involved with, they would have made enormous mirrors for an amateur. Despite shaking hands with him many times, sadly none of his optical skills rubbed off. Very nice to see an early photograph of him. ?

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Saganite,

Thanks for your input, you can find more about the UKIRT here: https://sites.google.com/site/grubbparsons/home/grubb-parsons/telescopes-made-by-grubb-parsons/150-in-mirror-ukirt-hawaii-1976

UKIRT was a very successful telescope, unfortunately UK funding was terminated some years ago and the telescope was taken over by the University of Hawaii I believe.  The telescope was closed down a while ago, together with two others on Mauna Kea, possibly in an attempt to appease the protesters objecting to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Mauna Kea is considered to be a sacred place by native Hawaiians.

John

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John,

Many thanks for this reminder and for a great web page on Parsons and Sinden. I think I may even remember that Look North report when it went out originally - seeing Mike Neville again takes me back.

I occasionally attended Newcastle Astronomical Society and some meetings at Close House when I was much younger, and met David Sinden on a couple of occasions (somewhere in my drawers I have a small fragment of glass which I acquired at one of those meetings - supposedly part of the material drilled out for the central hole in the UKIRT mirror blank). Later, long after I'd moved to Leicester, we invited him to come and give a talk to our research group. He accepted, and gave a fascinating account of his work and some of his ideas for the future - delivered with great modesty, though it was clear to everyone in the room that this was a man with not just a deep knowledge, but an innate feel, for his subject. That was not long before he died.

Listening to David talking in the TV interview, it strikes me that the eloquent description he gave of Sir Howard Grubb, is every bit as fitting a description of David himself.

Nigel

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 30/08/2018 at 15:59, Glasspusher said:

Saganite,

Thanks for your input, you can find more about the UKIRT here: https://sites.google.com/site/grubbparsons/home/grubb-parsons/telescopes-made-by-grubb-parsons/150-in-mirror-ukirt-hawaii-1976

UKIRT was a very successful telescope, unfortunately UK funding was terminated some years ago and the telescope was taken over by the University of Hawaii I believe.  The telescope was closed down a while ago, together with two others on Mauna Kea, possibly in an attempt to appease the protesters objecting to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Mauna Kea is considered to be a sacred place by native Hawaiians.

John

Thanks John for the link and for the the information. I was unaware of its decommissioning, and the fact that Mauna Kea was a sacred site.

 

Steve

Edited by Saganite
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  • 1 year later...

Thought I would give this thread a bump as it is 15 years since David's untimely passing. I am pleased to say that my paper celebrating David's life and achievements has been accepted for publication in the BAA Journal and will appear this year. In the mean while here are a couple of pictures, the first shows David with a 1.2m mirror for a telescope in India, the second shows the completed instrument.

 

Thanks for looking,

John

p1.jpg

1.2m Mt Abu.jpg

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