John Frederick Heard

J.F. Heard at the plaque unveiling ceremony

b. 18 June 1907, St. Thomas, Ontario
d. 5 October 1976, Richmond Hill

John Heard’s undergraduate education was completed at the University of Western Ontario (1929) and he earned an MA at McGill in 1930 and his PhD in Physics in 1932. He received a second PhD - in Astrophysics - in 1934 at University of London, England. Dr. C.A. Chant recruited Heard in 1935, to work at the newly established David Dunlap Observatory, linked to the University of Toronto. By 1952, John Heard had become the DDO director, retiring in 1965. He continued his academic career in the U of T Department of Astronomy, retiring as Professor Emeritus in 1976. Dr. John Heard earned an international reputation for his research in stellar spectroscopy.

Dr. Helen Hogg describes him as “…an observational astronomer of the highest order.” She writes: “For thirty years he was a leader amongst the astronomers who worked hard to achieve and ensure uniformity and standardization in the measurement of the radial velocity of stars.” In 1955 he was selected the president of this sub-commission of the International Astronomical Union.”

Heard was a member of the Royal Society, and gave unstinting service to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Reference: Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada 71, 1 (Feb 1977): 1-8.