The Royal Society of New Zealand says it is deeply saddened by the death of Sir Ian Axford, a renowned New Zealand scientist.
Dr Garth Carnaby, President of the Royal Society of New Zealand, says Sir Ian was one of New Zealand’s most remarkable scientists and had a distinguished international career.
His achievements were not only as a researcher, but also as a leader of science organisations. A lasting legacy for New Zealand is the significant contribution he made as the first chairman of the Marsden Fund Council.
He was chairman of the Marsden Fund Council from 1994 to 1998. The Marsden Fund is a contestable fund for fundamental research which is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the government. Last year it awarded research grants totalling $66 million.
In 1993 he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand whilst working at the Max-Planck Institute of Aeronomy in Germany.
In 1994 he was awarded New Zealand’s top science honour, the Rutherford Medal, by the Royal Society of New Zealand. The award was given “for his excellent contribution to fundamental research which has led to a deeper understanding of the nature of planetary magnetospheres, comets, interplanetary space, the behaviour of interstellar gas and the origin of cosmic rays.”
Sir Ian was named New Zealander of the Year in 1995. He chaired the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology from 1992 to 1995. From 1982 to 1985 he was Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University of Wellington.