Malcolm Walmsley, 1941-2017

Malcolm Walmsley passed away on May 1st in Dublin, where he had been living since he retired a few years ago. After spending his early years in India and Ireland, he started his 50-yr career as an astronomer at the University of California, San Diego. He then moved to the Max Planck Institute fuer Radioastronomie, in Bonn, where he carried out his scientific research for more than 20 years. In the '90s he moved to the University of Cologne and eventually to the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory, where he stayed until his retirement in 2008.  He also occupied the prestigious role of editor for Astronomy & Astrophysics for many years, until a few months ago.

Malcolm's fundamental contribution to the study of the interstellar medium and star formation is universally recognised, and witnessed by over 270 publications on refereed journals. It is impossible to summarize in a few words all the topics that benefited from Malcolm's insights: his studies spanned from recombination lines in galactic and extragalactic environments to the chemistry of pre- and proto-stellar cores, from theoretical models for maser emission to the formation of massive stars.

Besides his outstanding intellectual stature, Malcolm will be also remembered for his unique human qualities. His modesty, sense of humour, and friendly attitude with everyone were probably the salient traits of his character. His broad scientific expertise and unassuming manners made him the ideal mentor for several generations of students that have grown up following his guidance.  Not only did he provide them with a wealth of precious scientific strategy, but also delighted them with his lovely personality, his indulgence and never-ending support. Working with Malcolm was not only instructive and inspiring, but also highly enjoyable. Malcolm's heritage will live long after him; he will remain an example for all of us, as a scientist and a true gentleman.