Professor David Andrews
Credit: Dennis Hartmann

Obituary: Professor David Andrews

Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics

It is with great sadness that we announce that emeritus colleague and former Head of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics Professor David Andrews died on 1 March 2022.

David Andrews joined the Oxford Physics Department and Lady Margaret Hall as a University Lecturer and Tutorial Fellow in 1989, having done his PhD in Mathematics at Cambridge, then worked at Reading University in the UK Universities’ Global Atmospheric Modelling Group, followed by a period of postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston and the University of Princeton in the States. He returned to the UK to a Royal Society Meteorological Office Research Fellowship in the department and at St Cross College Oxford. He was an atmospheric physicist focusing on atmospheric dynamics, with particular seminal contributions to the theory of wave, mean-flow interactions, which transformed our understanding of the stratosphere and has since been influential in understanding the dynamics of the oceans, the rest of the Earth’s atmosphere and atmospheres of other planets.  

David had a passion for teaching, and he particularly relished his role as physics tutor at Lady Margaret Hall. As part of this he published An Introduction to Atmospheric Physics aimed at 3rd and 4th year undergraduates studying atmospheric physics as part of a physics, meteorology or earth and planetary science degree course. He also published a graduate textbook Middle Atmosphere Dynamics with J.R. Holton and C.B. Leovy that became (and remains) the ‘go-to’ textbook for anyone doing stratosphere-related research.  His influence was substantial, both locally on the many students who were lucky enough to be taught by him at Oxford and world-wide through his outstanding textbooks and research papers.  

David took over as Head of AOPP in 2000 and became Professor in 2004, serving as head of AOPP until 2008. He formally retired in 2012 but continued as Chair of Examiners in Physics, in his own words, ‘to spare his more active colleagues’, before finally leaving the University the following year. In 2013 he and his wife Kathleen moved to Dorset. After retirement he kept a lively interest in atmospheric physics. He continued to follow progress in the field, even teaching himself python in recent years because, as he joked, he felt he should keep up with friends who were ‘learning a new language in retirement’.  As well as being a brilliant and very well-respected scientist, David was an incredibly modest, generous and supportive friend and colleague, who will be sorely missed.  

Image courtesy of Dennis Hartmann