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Canadian-French astrophysicist Hubert Reeves dies aged 91

Astrophysicist Hubert Reeves, seen here in France in 2016, was a passionate defender of the environment
Astrophysicist Hubert Reeves, seen here in France in 2016, was a passionate defender of the environment.

Canadian-French astrophysicist Hubert Reeves, who was renowned for his work popularizing space science, died Friday aged 91, his son said in a post on Facebook.

"My whole family joins me in the pain of having to announce that our dear father has gone to join the stars," Benoit Reeves said.

The history of the universe was Reeves' life passion—he famously said that "to look far is to look early," evoking the concept of space-time—and he was also an ardent defender of planet Earth.

Born in Montreal on July 13, 1932, his thirst for knowledge began at a young age.

At night at their home in Quebec, Reeves and his family would go out to admire the sky, where he first learned to recognize constellations using a cardboard sheet.

He excelled in physics and, by age 18, knew he wanted to become an astronomer.

He did a doctorate at Cornell University and became a to NASA in the early 1960s before teaching at the University of Belgium.

He later became director of research at France's National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and adviser to the country's Atomic Energy Commission.

Reeves wrote books and made numerous popular films and documentaries, all underpinned by the fundamental question: does the universe have meaning?

And he became a passionate environmental campaigner, calling for politicians to take action.

We must "prevent the planet from becoming uninhabitable," he pleaded at the Elysee Palace in 2014 during an environment conference.

"We are facing a battle ... Who will win? Nobody knows," said the father of four and eight-time grandfather in a poignant speech.

For him, saving the planet was a matter of "the heart."

"Ecology is not just one big problem, but millions of little problems," he told AFP in an interview in 2018. That means people have to "want to tackle them" every day.

© 2023 AFP

Citation: Canadian-French astrophysicist Hubert Reeves dies aged 91 (2023, October 13) retrieved 25 February 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2023-10-canadian-french-astrophysicist-hubert-reeves-dies.html
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