Millman, Peter M.

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Peter Mackenzie Millman was a faculty member in the Department of Astronomy from 1933 to 1946. Although his tenure was short, and was further shortened by his war service, he made a significant contribution to the Department, and went on to a distinguished career in federal government astronomy. Peter was born in Toronto, brought up in Japan (and became fluent in Japanese), and educated at the University of Toronto (BA 1929) and at Harvard (AM 1931, PhD 1932). There, he overlapped with Frank Hogg and Helen Sawyer Hogg. They performed together in the Harvard College Observatory's annual Gilbert and Sullivan production. He returned to the University of Toronto in 1933, as the David Dunlap Observatory was being planned and opened. In 1946, he joined the Dominion Observatory in Ottawa, then transferred to the National Research Council in 1955.

Peter was a world authority on meteors and meteorites, free samples of cosmic material. He served in leadership positions in several scientific organizations, including as President of the Meteoritical Society (1962-66), of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) Commission on Meteors and Meteorites (1964-67), and the IAU Working Group on Planetary System Nomenclature (1973-82) which is charged with the delicate task of assigning names to solar system objects and features. He was especially active in the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), serving as Librarian (1936-46), President (1960-62), and Honorary President )1981-85). He authored literally hundreds of papers, reviews, and notes, especially in the Journal of the RASC. He was an enthusiastic and able public speaker and writer, and wrote This Universe of Space (CBC, 1961), based on a series of radio talks that he gave. He received several awards, from Canada and abroad, including the naming of an asteroid Millman.