Obituary: Professor Roger Griffin

Professor Roger Francis Griffin
(OC 1946-1954)

Born 23 August 1935, died 12 February 2021, aged 85 

Professor Roger Francis Griffin, BA, PhD, ScD, Fellow of St John’s College, and Emeritus Professor of Observational Astronomy at the University of Cambridge, died on 12 February 2021, aged 85. Survived by his two children, Rupert and Richard.  

He was an excellent pupil at Caterham with his name added to the Honoratus Board for 1953, and winning the Cambridge Scholarship to St John’s College. 

His interest in astronomy started at an early age, he had a telescope at school, and at 13 was allowed to go to London once a month to attend regular meetings of the British Astronomical Association.  

Roger became an award-winning astronomer who spent his career studying starlight. He is credited with developing the method that is now used for measuring black holes and is used to provide evidence for extra solar planets – planets outside the Solar System. 

Whilst not athletic at school, he enjoyed running and ran the London Marathon eleven times until almost 80, coming second in his age group three times. 


Click here to view a recording of Roger’s memorial service, along with texts from the service and various Roger-related essays.

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Memories from his peer, Roger Hensman (OC 1946-1956)

A couple of memories I have of Roger …

At one time we were both interested in thunderstorms – one day we had been watching one in the science block then decided to dash through the rain and into the main building. Just as we got inside, there was a flash and an instantaneous bomp! We realised that the lightening conductor immediately above our heads had been struck, which provided some excitement!

He was also one of the 4 Rogers! (Roger Jacob, Roger Middlemiss, Roger Griffin and myself.) We all played the piano and regularly played in school concerts. One particularly memorable occasion was when we all played together – a beautiful arrangement of Percy Grainger’s ‘Country Gardens’ for eight hands on two pianos.