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In Memoriam: Arthur E. Covington, Canada's Pioneer Radio Astronomer

Library Exhibit, March - October, 2001

[Covington portrait]

Arthur E. Covington, a donor of the Riche-Covington Collection to Queen's Libraries, passed away recently. In his honour, the staff of Queen's W.D. Jordan Special Collections and Music Library have put together a modest exhibit entitled Arthur E. Covington, Canada's Pioneer Radio Astronomer.

All members of the Queen's community are warmly invited to visit this exhibit which includes many interesting visuals from the Collection.


Covington built the first radio telescope in Canada. His pioneering research and observations on sunspots are well recognized. Covington worked at the National Research Council of Canada and was Director of the Algonquin Radio Observatory. He also initiated the "History of Radio Science and Technology Project" at Queen's in the 1970s.

[photo of Arthur Covington]

Covington assiduously collected and donated to Queen's materials documenting the history of science in his field, particularly in Canada and since World War II, complementing the McNicol Collection which deals with the early history of telegraphy and electronic communication. The papers of Arthur L. Riche, father-in-law of Mr. Covington, are included, along with those of several other prominent researchers. Riche developed the snap action Micro Switch which was later used in the 200-inch telescope at Mount Palomar, California.

The Riche-Covington collection also includes a number of contemporary publications, technical papers by Covington and others, an extensive photograph collection, scrapbooks, broadsides, as well as some very rare books on the history of optics and scientific method. For further details about this collection, see A Catalogue of the Riche-Covington Collection in QCAT, Queen's Library Catalogue.

Last Updated: 23 May 2012

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