Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Professor Tom Marsh- memories and messages shared

From the Warwick community

I only knew Tom a short while during my PhD, but he always gave me a lasting impression of how uncommonly kind and incredibly intelligent he was. The Warwick Astrophysics department will never be the same without him. I send my deepest condolences to his family for what must be the most difficult of times. May you rest in peace Tom. From Rebecca, Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics

Tom was a really nice guy and I’ll miss him being a colleague. We didn’t work together much but whenever we did it was great. From Gavin Morley, Department of Physics

Tom was a very nice and humble colleague. l didn't have close interaction with him but crossed paths with him many times in different occasions in the department. I will remember his friendly and calm face and will miss him as a colleague with never fading affiliative smile on his face. From Reza Kashtiban, Department of Physics

It was a pleasure to have known Tom as a great colleague ever since he joined the Department of Physics to lead the (then) new Astronomy group in 2003. From the very beginning, Tom set the wonderful culture of the group, as a scientist and as a person, setting and leading the way to the group's enormous success. Interacting with Tom through various roles in Physics and the wider university, I always found him to be a committed, wise and helpful colleague, who was a pleasure to work with. My deepest condolences to his family, friends and many colleagues both within Warwick Physics and across the world. From Pam Thomas, Department of Physics

Even just within the short time I knew Tom, he always struck me as someone immensely kind, interested in the work of others outside his many research fields, and intelligent beyond measure. Some memories that particularly sticks out in my mind are when he asked many questions about and took great interest in my first research publication, and when we worked together at the Physics department open days - at which it was clear he held immense pride in the research group he had worked so hard to create and maintain for the past two decades as the centre of our universe. Such a huge loss to us all in the research group and beyond. My thoughts and very best wishes are with his family. From Faith Hawthorn, Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics

Tom, I owe you hugely. Over the past twenty years, there has been hardly a day when we did not have a chat, and you've been always there, listening, in good times and in bad times. I can't count the times that we showed each other odd light curves and spectra, puzzling what's going on, often leading to endless weeks and months of fun unravelling the mysteries. Your way of doing science was so refreshingly pure and open, and all of us learned so much from you. Thank you for everything! Life at Warwick and in our wider research community will not be the same without you. May you rest in peace, up there, among the stars. You are one of them. From Boris Gaensicke, Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics

I was only able to get the privilege of chatting with Tom a few precious times before I started my research here. Before then I'd known him as a good lecturer during my undergrad but during our short conversations at NAM and my graduation ceremony his humility and warmth left a lasting impression on me. Tom made me feel like I would be welcome in the group he had created here and now being part of it without him I can certainly say his shadow looms large over the extraordinary and wonderful group of people he brought together. Goodbye Tom, I'll always be grateful for what you built here and I'll always be sad I never got to know you better. My deepest condolences go to his family, friends and colleagues. From Toby Rodel, student

I only had Prof. Marsh for one term, teaching mechanics last year. We were never able to interact in real life, but his enthusiasm was still very much felt through the screen. To see such exuberance and passion during such difficult times was really special and motivating. Thank you, Tom. From Cosmos Zero, student

The growth and impact of the astrophysics group at Warwick is the greatest evidence of Tom's hard work, wisdom and dedication but I will remember him mostly as a kind and humble person who was great to work with. My sincere condolences to his family. From Dirk Gericke, Department of Physics

I remain shocked by the terrible news about Tom. My heart goes out to his family, who must be devastated. Although working in a different area of physics to Tom, every time I met him I was impressed not only by the depth and range of his knowledge but also by his willingness to make time to support colleagues. We need more people like Tom in the world. Warwick Physics will not be same without him. From Tim Gershon, Department of Physics

Our entire year group adored Tom. Our weekly online class was the highlight of our week during the very daunting transition to university. We always came away from the calls laughing and in a great mood. He definitely knew how to make us laugh which made him famous across campus. He was a great ambassador for the department and his Classical Mechanics module ended up being my favourite from first year, and my highest grade (undoubtedly due to his amazing teaching). I will always be grateful to Tom for re-igniting my passion for Physics in first year. Thank you Tom - You will be missed by all of us in the department. From Hannah Wood, 2nd year Physics student

I would like to express my sincere condolences and grief on the loss of Tom Marsh. Tom was responsible for recruiting me as an academic in the Astronomy and Astrophysics group at Warwick. From the first, he struck me as friendly, approachable, and extremely dedicated. While I was perhaps a little intimidated at first by his incredible insight and fierce intelligence, I soon came to value Tom's advice, viewpoint, sense of humour and frequent company amongst other academics and postdocs at lunch time. I very much appreciate the guidance he shared, and know that it has helped shape me and my professional career. Over the last eleven years, Tom became very much a part of my daily life, and the community to which we belong, sharing meals, coffee times and celebrations, as well as the more stressful moments of an academic existence! I was also fortunate enough to work directly with Tom on a project which combined my knowledge of radio observations with his expertise on accreting binaries, to explore the radio properties of AR Scorpii - a rare type of interacting binary star that was a major focus of Tom's research in recent years. Tom was consistently supportive and engaged, a pleasure to interact with both socially and scientifically. When I was researching the history of astronomy in Coventry last year, I ventured to send Tom a set of questions regarding the early days of the Warwick Astro group. When I asked about how he felt about it's evolution and the future, he was characteristically modest and celebratory of others, downplaying the critical importance of his own role and articulating his pleasure in how the group has grown: "I'm pleased because we have contributed lots of good science over the years, trained lots of PhD students and post-doctoral researchers and inspired undergraduate students as well. I'm surprised at how large the group has grown; the days of de facto staff meetings via shouting down the corridor are in the dim and distant past (a good thing!). I don't feel pride, because where the group is now is down to so many people's efforts, not just mine. Gratitude that it has worked so far probably best captures how I feel." "I think the group has grown in diversity over the last few years especially, and I hope that that continues. I hope it continues to evolve in response to addressing interesting astrophysics; some of that may reflect current themes, but judging by the last 19 years, much of it may not. But that's fine, as long as it pursues interesting, high-quality science." Since we lost Tom, he has rarely been far from my thoughts. His absence is noted every day, and he leaves a hole in the group and in my own world which will remain raw for a long time to come. However I also feel that Tom would be glad of the legacy he leaves behind at Warwick and elsewhere, and he will certainly be remembered and missed. My sincere condolences to all Tom's family. From Elizabeth Stanway, Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics

I first met Tom 20 years ago, when I was still an undergraduate, and he was the external examiner in Leicester. I still vividly remember the transition from trepidation to relaxation and enjoyment, realising that he was genuinely interested in what I was doing. This was an interaction that Tom didn’t even remember when I mentioned it years later, but I suspect this warmth and openness have impacted many over the years. When I next met Tom, I was lucky enough that he offered me a job in Warwick, and I spent the next 12 years as his office neighbour. I cannot over-emphasise the importance of his advice and guidance through the years. Not only did he always have time for me and others (as the person in the next office, I can attest that no matter how busy he was, he always found time to welcome anyone who knocked on his door), but he led the group in a way the that made people want to work with and for him. His academic ability, guidance and mentorship have created a generation of capable astronomers worldwide. However, my most fond memories are also the more mundane. I remember shouting to each other from office to office whenever England wickets fell in cricket (a somewhat too regular occurrence) or comparing notes on whose dog had done the most ridiculous or disgusting thing in the past week. He was a mean racket sports player, and I don’t think I ever succeeded in winning a badminton match against him. He made the workplace somewhere you wanted to be, personally as well as professionally. I am sure that I am not alone in viewing him as a massive positive influence in my life, and I will greatly miss his knowledge, insight and friendship. Thank you for everything Tom. From Andrew Levan, Radboud University & Warwick

It is difficult to find words to describe how much Tom had a lasting impact on his colleagues and the white dwarf group at the University of Warwick. Tom always had a strong and genuine interest in the work of others, always listening and willing to ask questions at group meetings. At lunch time Tom had the same scientific curiosity about various interesting news items, and I will miss these informal discussions that did brighten the day. Tom was very collegial and a regular for the white dwarf pub trips on Thursdays. He really tied up our group together. Tom was extremely clever: sometimes I would seek answers on a problem for weeks and Tom, just passing by my office, would do some calculations in his head and propose the correct solution. Tom was very much someone to aspire to, yet was unique in his own way. His legacy will continue but I miss him very much. From Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay, Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics

Tom Marsh was my favourite lecturer of first year, and very well liked across the cohort. He was wholesome and funny, and his lectures and live sessions were always well attended and enjoyable. His sessions often had a screen full of scattered heart reactions, and he even said pog for us on several occasions. I'll never forget his light-hearted YouTube intro parody in his last lecture before wishing us a merry Christmas. Above all, he had a genuine passion for teaching, and his lectures were incredibly interesting and engaging. Rest in peace Tom Marsh, and thank you for everything you did. From Muneeba Amjad, student

I have admired Tom since we first met and it was a pleasure to know him. His love for discovering the unknown, be it through research or adventure, was at the heart of his personality, and his passion and enthusiasm shone at all times. Lately, he spoke of his proudness for his son’s graduation and it appeared clear that family meant everything to Tom. Tom will be sincerely missed as a colleague and mentor. From James Munday, Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics

My deepest sympathies to Tom's family, friends and to his colleagues and friends both within Warwick Physics and beyond. It's so clear from reading the messages from the book of condolences and across many other platforms how respected and loved Tom was, and what a great loss this is. May he rest in peace. From Helen Knight, Department of Physics

Tom was a wonderful scientist, colleague, and friend. His passing has left a giant hole in our group and in all our hearts. It is difficult to accept that he has gone. Tom was continuously inquisitive about all areas of astronomy, and indeed the natural world in general. His curiosity and enthusiasm was infectious. Tom was a role model and mentor to all of us, and there was always something to be learned from talking with Tom. Over the last five years in the astronomy group I had the honour of spending many hours with Tom - in formal meetings, informal gatherings, and one-on-one conversations. Tom was one of the few people to be regularly in the office post-pandemic, and through this I got to spend many hours with him over lunch and coffee. We discussed everything from science to politics to gardening. Tom was always intelligent and quick-witted, which made for very enjoyable conversations. I really miss Tom, and my heart goes out to his family who have lost a truly wonderful person far too early. "Today, the road all runners come, Shoulder-high we bring you home, And set you at your threshold down, Townsman of a stiller town. Eyes the shady night has shut Cannot see the record cut, And silence sounds no worse than cheers After earth has stopped the ears." A. E. HOUSMAN. From Daniel Bayliss, Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics

Tom radiated intellect and friendship in equal measure. He was always enthusiastic to help others with science, whether by explaining something he understood well or by probing about topics that were a mystery to him. I wish I had the opportunity to work closely with him, but most of all I am glad to have met him; he was an inspirational scientist and an aspirational person. From Matthew Hoskin, Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics

I didn't know, or know of, Tom, before the awful events of the past months, but from everything written about him he was clearly an exceptional human being, both personally and professionally. I wanted to say to Tom's family, friends and colleagues, how sad and sorry I am that you have lost someone so loved and valued. I hope that Tom rests in peace after a life spend pursuing his passions and inspiring and engaging so many. From Claire Wightman, University of Warwick

Heart felt sympathy to Tom's family at this very difficult time. Tom was in many ways a model academic and colleague plus a genuinely nice guy. He will be very badly missed. RIP. From Gary Barker, Head of Warwick Particle Physics

Tom, you were an outstanding and warming presence in the department. Your exceptional knowledge and willingness to help others has been the keystone in research in the department and around the world. Whether it was general admin or research, you helped me numerous times when I got stuck and ensured we had a path forward. I was not alone and everyone who knew you could share numerous, similar memories with you. From Samuel Gill, Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics

I am sincerely sorry for your terrible loss. From Alison Ribeiro de Menezes, University of Warwick

It still comes a shock to think that one of our colleagues can go away for an experiment-like a number of us do regularly whenever we get time awarded on instruments at international facilities- and not come back. What a loss to his family and colleagues at Warwick and other places. I recall vividly the excitement in the department when the first Astronomy recruitments were made to set up the new group, and Tom Marsh moved here. Since then, the group has grown in size and stature and a lot of the credit goes to Tom. Tom was a great colleague and showed huge enthusiasm for all areas of Physics. I always used to see him occupying the seats in the front rows in PLT during the departmental colloquia, whatever the topic-just behind or alongside George Rowlands. I shall always remember him as a cheerful and wonderful person who appeared frequently to be engaged in avid discussions with his colleagues, post docs or students. My heart goes out to his dear family who have been put through sheer hell and agony in the last couple of months. My deepest sympathies lie with them, and to all of his closest colleagues here, who must all miss him so terribly. A cruel end to such a brilliant career and a star of a person. From Geetha Balakrishnan, Department of Physics

I was the Postgraduate Coordinator in the dept of Physics. My memories of Tom were that he was a lovely, gentle man. I am so sad to hear this news and send my heartfelt condolences to his family. The department has lost someone special. From Susan Tatlock, previously Department of Physics

It was a pleasure to work with Tom during my last 10 or so years in Physics at Warwick. Our research interests did not overlap but it was evident from the start that he was an inspirational leader of the Astronomy Group and nurtured them to their position of international renown. I was more familiar with his dedication when it came to the less exciting aspects of the job as an academic. He could always be relied upon to fulfil, with a smile, any teaching or administrative duties which came his way. I am sure that all my colleagues are equally affected by his loss. From Diane Holland, Department of Physics

Tom's interest and joy in astronomy were contagious. Even before I had the chance to work with him directly, I remember him driving interesting discussions at conferences. In the short time I got to work directly with him, I really enjoyed discussing observations of unknown objects. When I think of him, the image is of him enthusiastically trying to unravel the nature of some unexpected observation. Tom made a big impact on my career, as he encouraged me to apply for a faculty position here at Warwick and subsequently supported me and answered countless questions I had about teaching. We were in the process of setting up a new version of a course on black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs. His contribution to, and impact on, the course will go forward and will continue to help teach undergraduate students in the years to come. To his family: Tom made an incredible impact in the field and in the lives of so many students and astronomers, and the work he did will continue to inspire people. From Deanne Coppejans, Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics

Tom was a wonderful mentor and an amazing man to work with. It's no exaggeration to say that he has been one of the most influential figures in my life, in the time that he supervised me during my PhD and in the time since. I admired his passion and curiosity, his patience as a teacher, and I have often tried to emulate his attitude. Some of my favourite memories with Tom are of observing trips together. I always loved going to his office, it was a comfortable place and I always learned something. It's a strange feeling to know that I cannot stop by Warwick for a chat. I will miss Tom deeply. My heartfelt condolences to all his family and friends. From Matthew, formerly Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics

Tom was a nice person. A delight to talk to on any topic and to work with both as an individual and as group leader. He set up a world renowned research group at Warwick and developed it over the years in an extraordinarily successful way. But it says much for his character and judgement that he chose to pass on group leadership responsibility to a younger colleague. I will miss him. But his achievements and reputation will endure. From Mark Hadley, formerly Warwick Physics.

Tom was a delightful colleague and a regular presence at the department's morning coffee break. As a new academic to Warwick Tom was one of the first people I met, and was a friendly, kind face, particularly when we discovered a common love - optics! It was a pleasure to have known him and to have gained a small sense of what he must have achieved in his incredible life. He is sorely missed. From James Lloyd-Hughes, Warwick Physics

I recall that Tom was the first appointment I made when I became Head of Department over 20 years ago. We sought to establish a research group in Astronomy to satisfy the strong interest of our undergraduate students in the subject and our desire to introduce research in this area into the Department's portfolio. Tom was clearly an outstanding leader in his field and there was no doubt that he was the leading contender for the new Chair. He was so respected that he was able to quickly bring together at Warwick an embryo research group that soon grew in numbers and in reputation beyond our wildest dreams. Tom was a modest scientist, always willing to discuss all aspects of physics with an open mind, an attitude echoed in the like-minded staff that he recruited to the expanding research group which he actively and inspirationally led for many years. Tom will be sadly missed by everyone with whom he came into contact, professionally and personally. My sincere condolences, and those of my wife Joan, at this sad time are sent to Felicity and all her family. From Malcolm John Cooper, Warwick Physics

Wow - I hadn't realised quite what an esteemed professor I worked with - Tom was so very modest about his achievements. To me, Tom was just a lovely, down to earth colleague and a wonderful lecturer, tutor and supervisor. I never had any qualms in sending any student to speak to him, in the confidence that they would be always well-supported. He was always gentle and kind - the calm voice of reason in any situation. He is so very much missed by everyone in the Physics Department. The last time I saw Tom, he had just finished marking his exams scripts, which was achieved in record time, as nothing was going to stop him attending his son's postponed graduation. He was a very proud father and clearly devoted to his family, to whom I send my sincere and heartfelt condolences. From Maxine Little, Warwick Physics

I had only known Tom a few years — since a year before I started my lectureship in the Warwick Astronomy & Astrophysics group in 2018. However, in such a short time, he had such a big impact on me and I learnt so much from him. He was a brilliant scientist, though incredibly reserved about his achievements. I loved his subtle (and sometimes unsubtle!) sense of humour. And most of all, he cared for and looked after the people in the Astronomy & Astrophysics group. He understood the importance of even little acts of kindness. He was one of few people who wrote to me to welcome me back after my maternity leave, which was so lovely to receive. He will always be remembered and missed dearly. From Farzana Meru, Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics

Tom was such a joyful part of my PhD studies, his towering intellect, enthusiasm and kindness were always present. From him always having such thoughtful questions about any science I presented, to him frantically adding a picture of his dogs to show the white dwarf group and being so excited to count people into an outreach event. His warmth and generosity made the Astronomy and Astrophysics group what it is today, and we all miss him deeply. My sincerest condolences go to his family, friends and all who were lucky enough to know him. From Catriona McDonald, Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics

My sincere condolences to Tom's family and friends. It was a pleasure to learn from Tom as an undergraduate, a postgraduate, and most recently as a postdoc. The example he set will always be one that I aspire to replicate. A true inspiration, I will miss him greatly. From James Blake, Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics

Tom was one of the tiny handful of people you meet in academia who are much smarter than everyone else. After the initial shock, you quickly learn not to be intimidated by people as clever as Tom, partly because they are so rare, but also because they are invariably among the kindest and most encouraging of people you ever meet. This was so true of Tom. He had high standards for himself, and for others, which no doubt drove the extraordinary growth of our research group, but he was also extremely modest about his own achievements (sometimes infuriatingly so) and he always gave his time generously to support colleagues and students who were grappling with understanding. Really, we were all his students. I learnt the hard way only to tell Tom my ideas immediately after I had them, or years after they had been published, as he had an incredible ability within seconds to spot the subtle flaw in a scientific argument that had been carefully polished over many months. Tom leaves a gaping hole in our personal and professional lives that will never be filled. I will particularly miss our wide ranging and often very funny conversations over lunch. But he also leaves the world a better place for all of us who were fortunate enough to know him, be taught by him and work alongside him. My most heartfelt condolences to Felicity and all of Tom’s family, as well as his many friends and colleagues. From Pete Wheatley, Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics

Tom was an excellent colleague and I miss chatting with him a great deal. We do not work in the same area, but met frequently at coffee time. Discussing teaching and other matters with him was extremely helpful to me when I was starting out as a lecturer. From Paul Goddard, Warwick Physics

Tom was a wonderful colleague and unfailingly friendly to all around him. He leaves a hole in the department will be sorely missed. From Matthew Turner, Warwick Physics

I first met Tom when I was about to become a mature PhD student and remember how welcoming he was. Despite his international reputation he was always modest and approachable and altogether a really nice guy. Outside work he was great company - I remember spending happy hours with him travelling back from a conference. My sincere condolences to his family whose loss is even greater than ours. From Keith Inight, Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics

I was fortunate enough to have Tom as a lecturer during my time as an undergraduate at Warwick, and also to sit in meetings with him on the departmental Education Committee during my time as secretary of the Student-Staff Liaison Committee. He was a superb lecturer and a brilliant physicist, with a real passion for education. He will be sorely missed. From Christopher D. Woodgate, Warwick Physics

From friends and collaborators

Tom, you've been a pillar I always looked up to both as a person and as a scientist throughout my humble career. I will never forget the conferences and few observing nights I had the opportunity to share with you. You are a true legend, and legends stick around in books. I wish I had more opportunities to learn from you and share the arrival of plenty of photons on a CCD. Much strength to your family and the entire research community during this difficult time. From Simone Scaringi, Durham University

I first met Tom at a conference early in my academic career in the 2000s. I did not work with him but I know his papers and his work clearly had a major impact of the field of white dwarfs in interacting star systems. My deepest condolences to Tom's family, friends, and colleagues. From Ashley Ruiter, University of New South Wales Canberra

I was both a Physics undergraduate and PhD student in the Astrophysics group many years ago now. For us, Tom Marsh was always synonymous with amazing intelligence: he was on another level but still such a kind person. I remember him managing to successfully teach us about manifolds (general relativity), me being so pleased at getting one of his questions "exactly right" in my PhD interview, him quizzing me over knowledge of vegetables at a group dinner and him giving me a crash course on going observing at a telescope when it looked like I might have to go there alone my first time. These were such small things but they have stuck with me as I'm sure Tom had an impact on so so many people over the years both professionally and personally. I was so deeply saddened to hear of his passing and I send the deepest condolences to his family and friends. Thank you Tom for even the small impact you had on me and rest in peace. From Rachel Tunnicliffe, ACRG, University of Bristol

Just devastated by this news, Tom was a great inspiration to all around the world, with a calm and effective manner. He has left a thriving astronomy department at Warwick as a major legacy as well as immense contributions to our understanding of the universe. From Daniel Price, Monash University, Melbourne

I had the great privilege and pleasure of working with Tom in the early stage of his career, when he was a PhD student at Cambridge and then as a postdoc at STScI shortly after the launch of the HST. We had great fun learning about the physics of accretion discs by studying the eclipses and evolving emission-line profiles of cataclysmic variables, imagining the goings on in those small but fascinating systems. His enthusiasm and optimism were immense. I shared several moments of discovery, understanding for the first time why accretion discs form double-peaked emission-line profiles shaped like an M and not like a U, making sense of the unexpected forest of absorption lines in the HST spectra of dwarf novae, and of course Doppler tomography and the insights that followed from its capability of tracing the gas flow between the stars. On many occasions Tom's intelligent insight and superior mastery of physics helpfully reigned in and grounded some of my wilder speculations as we grappled with puzzling data on the steps toward understanding. Tom's great gift was his versatility as a scientist working in the sweet spot where observation and theory combine, building new software and instrumentation, he enabled those fascinating flickers in the sky to connect with and speak with us. I miss him immensely. From Keith Horne, University of St Andrews

It is enormously sad for everyone to have final confirmation of what we were beginning to expect. I would like to express my deep sorrow for the loss of Tom. It must be devastating for his family and close colleagues in the astrophysics research group. My sympathies are with everyone. Tom was a wonderful person. I regarded him as a good friend in astronomy. I have known him for more than 30 years and our careers ran very much in parallel. A particularly memorable event was when we had to arrange to meet in a supermarket carpark in Leicester, shortly after he move to Warwick. He needed someone to sign a passport renewal form and I was the nearest person who had known him long enough. We had a good laugh about that then and for several years afterwards. Tom generously acted as external examiner for several of my PhD students over the years and always engaged with them in friendly and constructive way. It was great to see him at NAM and EWDW after the hiatus caused by COVID. I will miss him tremendously. From Martin Barstow, University of Leicester

It was such a great privilege and pleasure to share 10 years with Tom & his family here in Southampton. Scientifically his knowledge and quick perception ranks him as top of all the astronomers I have enjoyed working with over 4 decades. He was always interested in what you were doing and happy to offer comments and insights that would open doors you perhaps never even thought to approach. On a personal level he maintained a positive and outgoing attitude to the world, that meant every conversation would, sooner or later, end in a laugh and restore your faith in humanity overall. I will very much miss him, primarily as a friend, but also as a very special colleague. From Malcolm Coe, University of Southampton


I have met Prof.Tom since 2013 when he and Prof.Vik (University of Sheffield) brought the UltraSPEC (High speed CCD camera) to Thailand in order to fit its to 2.4 m National telescope for UK-Thai research collaboration. He is good astronomer and great teacher because he joyfully taught us a lot about UltraSPEC software, astronomy and more ... In 2-3 year passed, I have never met him in a person because the Covid-19, but we sometimes contacted him by e-mail for technical support, he was very nice to clear and find out the solution for me and telescope operators. We have really respected his work for Thai’s national telescope and his friendship. I’m sorry to hear about Prof.Tom’s passing. He has been our greatest source of inspiration and courage. Deep in our hearts we will always keep him. From Apichat Leckngam, National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand

I'll remember Tom as a hugely esteemed colleague on telescope time allocation committees. His insight, wisdom but also his sense of humour and general air of bonhomie were one of the main things that made those meetings bearable (especially in Swindon)! From Rob Jeffries, Keele University

Tom was a huge asset to UK astronomy, a man of immense experience and wisdom whose judgement could always be relied upon. It is so sad that we have lost him. He had a great deal to contribute. From Julian Osborne, University of Leicester

Condolence to Tom, we lost a star. From Hongsheng Zhao, University of St Andrews

I was fortunate to know Tom for most of his career in astrophysics. From the start I realised that he had all the qualities one could wish for: a deep insight into the physics, a superbly professional approach to planning and carrying out an observing programme designed to nail a problem, and the ability to conceive instrumentation and software for this purpose. Above all Tom had a marvellously open and generous personality, greeting everyone with the same kindness, good humour, and enthusiasm. The thriving activity at Warwick is an eloquent testament to these qualities. I was lucky to play a tiny part in his move there, and derived enormous satisfaction in seeing its continued success. For his family these are the hardest of times. I hope that they will derive some solace in knowing how many lives Tom touched so positively. From Andrew King, University of Leicester

Our paths first crossed in Oxford in early 1990s, where we overlapped for a short period of time. However, our closer collaboration only started some 15 years ago, and it had been on steady increase since then. Tom was someone, who was always easy to approach for an expert opinion, and that opinion always carried a hefty weight. I came to know Tom as an outstanding scientist and a friend, who had an incredible aptitude for picking not only the right answers, but at least equally importantly, picking also the right questions. His talent in both observational and theoretical studies was extraordinary and he was always full of ideas. During the pandemic, Tom invited me to participate in the Warwick white dwarf group meetings, which helped out a lot and boosted my own work considerably. Finally, I think I was likely the last colleague to share observing with Tom, as we observed together, albeit remotely, using NTT/ULTRACAM in late August 2022. Given years of collaboration and endless number of observing runs between us, sadly this was the first and the last run for us to observe together. It left me with a fond memory of Tom, who also thoroughly showed me the ropes regarding the ULTRACAM. We made one discovery too, which Tom was planning to followup on his run in September - something that I will see through. Many thanks for all the invaluable discussions and advice, Tom. You will never be forgotten. From Pasi Hakala, FINCA, University of Turku, Finland

Tom was a great friend and mentor. His guidance transformed me from a postgraduate into an astronomer and I will always be thankful that I had the privilege of being one of his many PhD students. I have lost count of the number of hours we would spend looking at new and exciting data and I was always blown away by both his incredible insights and his ability to explain them so clearly. It was always a joy to go observing with Tom, you knew you were getting the absolute most out the telescope and instrument when he was there and his dry sense of humour helped get you through the long nights. Although I quickly learned never to challenge him at table football as he was practically unbeatable. I still remember the queue of people lining up to play him at a conference in Germany and he beat almost all of them! He leaves behind an enormous hole in our community. I will miss showing him new results and the exciting conversations that would follow, but most of all I will miss his friendship. From Steven Parsons, University of Sheffield

I knew Tom only a little; I had the privilege of being taught by Tom as an undergraduate student in the mid-1990s, and having him supervise my final-year research project. Through that period he was always very approachable, generous with his time, and maintained his enthusiasm for the project when we seemed stuck - which kept us going. Only after I left and worked in research a little more did I realise how respected Tom was as a researcher. After that, I bumped into him occasionally a meetings and he was always friendly, happy to talk. We have lost a very smart and nice person. From Simon Vaughan, University of Leicester

I did not know Tom long. But it was enough. I was fortunate enough to work with Tom on a project briefly. I am even more fortunate that my PhD advisor had fostered a deep bond and collaboration with him. My advisor has often shared nuggets from interactions with Tom with me, allowing me to learn from him indirectly too. The impression people leave on one another is infinite. In this way I feel like I will always be a student of Tom, as his teachings live on through everything my advisor will share with me. I am deeply grateful. I was also lucky enough to attend a conference with Tom. He was a model participant. I was struck how after any given talk he could (and nearly always did) ask such a clever question. I strive to become a scientist like him. I know Tom was a mentor, inspiration, and friend for so many. I offer my sincerest condolences to those who were fortunate enough to work closely with and learn from Tom. I especially offer my condolences to the Marsh family. From Joseph Guidry, Boston University

Tom was always kind to me, and our discussions across the years resonate to this day. In many ways, what I now research is related to discussions I've had with Tom over a decade ago. This is why, it was with great shock that I first heard about his disappearance from La Silla, a site that I consider like a second home. And later, it was with great sadness that I learnt of his passing. I will remember his passion, his energy and his curiosity, all traits that I try to emulate every day. Please receive my deepest sympathies and thoughts, you who have known him best, and were closest to him. From Amaury Triaud, University of Birmingham

I first emailed Tom a month after starting my PhD, asking why I was getting a segfault error when trying to install his light curve modelling program. It was only later that I learned that this is an impossible to diagnose error, and a very silly thing to be asking for help with. And yet, Tom replied, to a student he had never met or heard from before, and took the time to help me through resolving the issue without making me feel the slightest bit silly. I was fortunate enough to work with him several times since, and his careful treatment of data and enthusiasm for helping anyone in need have inspired me to be a better scientist. Thank you for everything Tom - you will be sorely missed. From Mark Kennedy, University College Cork

I enjoyed conversations with Tom during his visits to St Andrews many years ago. I found him to be a kind, considerate and non-judgmental person with a gentle sense of humour. His academic achievements and his ability to communicate his enjoyment of astrophysics with many others guaranteed his success across all aspects of his profession. I know he enjoyed observing sessions, and walking in remote terrain as much as I did. It is so sad that he is no longer with us. From Ron Hilditch, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of St Andrews

Tom and I were graduate students together and I was immediately impressed by his astonishing skill with mathematics, and his enjoyment of its abstruse corners. One memorable day several of us went for a coastal walk and when we paused, Tom whipped out the piece of paper he always seemed to have in his pocket and within 20 minutes or so (and with evident enjoyment) had written down the equations describing a boat's wake. Tom took genuine pleasure in helping others with tricky calculations and difficult coding problems, using humour to lighten things up where needed. He was a kind and gentle man of the best possible sort and my heart goes out to F. and to their son and daughter. From Alison Campbell

I worked with Tom during my PhD and research time spent at Warwick, and he was always a kind and welcoming person to be around and work with. Tom always had time to help those around him and engage in interesting astronomical discussion. I have kept one of the comments Tom wrote on a paper draft which always makes me smile. I had said an equation could be easily solved. His response was "Solving Kepler's equation challenged many fine minds for 100s of years so we better not trivialise it too much." Tom was a humble genius, and this comment will always represent that to me. It was truly an honour to have worked with you Tom, you will be missed. From Chris Manser, Imperial College London

I met Tom over 30 years ago, and early on realised that he was one of the really "nice guys" in astronomy. Very bright, but completely unpretentious, easy to speak to and always genuinely interested in the work of others. A very sad loss. From Nial Tanvir, University of Leicester

Group of people

I was shocked to hear Tom had been missing and, ultimately, found lifeless. My most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends. I count Tom Marsh as my good friend and colleague. I have known Tom since 1987. On my first memorable travel to the first international scientific COSPAR and IAU Symposium on the Physics of Compact Objects in Sofia, Bulgaria. Since then, we have met numerous times at different venues and conferences. We collaborated on several papers and ultimately were working on data obtained on GTC with HiPERCAM. Most dear to me was his visit to Yerevan, Armenia, where we had a good time. I am attaching a few photos from Yerevan. The last time I saw him in Tubingen, we had a nice chat on the train to the conference, and I am having a very difficult time adjusting to the thought of this terrible and unexpected loss. From Gagik Tovmassian, Instituto de Astronomia UNAM

Tom Marsh was a joy to talk to: always kind, eager, insightful and engaged. He had such a pure love of and fascination for science. I offer my deepest sympathies and condolences to his family and all his colleagues in Warwick and beyond. From Katherine Blundell, University of Oxford

A very sad loss indeed, not only to the Science community but also the Human Race. It was a pleasure knowing and working along side you. From Trev Gamble, University of Sheffield

I'm one of many astronomers that has used the tools for data analysis that Tom developed. The tools helped me immensely as a postdoc. I frequently communicated with Tom when I developed small components that built onto his tools and about the way I was using his tools and how the outputs could be interpreted in astrophysical terms. Tom's enthusiasm and interest were infectious and he was always able to provide quality critical feedback that caused strengthened analysis and conclusions. Tom has helped lots of people to surge ahead to success and I am thankful for his influence in my journey, as I know are many others. From Warren Skidmore, Thirty Meter Telescope (prev. St Andrews University and Keele University)

I was shocked to hear about the mysterious disappearance of Prof. Tom Marsh at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, a site I know only too well myself, and followed all the updates until the very tragic news of his body being found weeks later. But his memory lives on in my mind, and many others at NARIT in Thailand, where Vik Dhillon, Tom and others brought the ULTRASPEC instrument just about ten years ago, and where it is still used. I have vivid memories of those initial contacts, MoU, shipment, commissioning runs and finally science. In fact, I remember dearly how Tom was impressed with the novel use of ULTRASPEC for Lunar Occultations initiated at the Thai 2.4-m telescope, commenting how good the first data were and almost undistinguishable from the model. And how impressed I was myself, that such a senior scientist with a world-wide respected status in his own area of research, could still feel enthusiasm for a new application of that instrument and particularly of his own software. My deep condolences to his family and his numerous associates. From Andrea Richichi, Formerly with NARIT, Thailand

Tom was an amazing scientist and it was a great honour to work with him on multiple occasions. My deepest respect to Tom and his family. He is and will always be deeply missed. From Nikolay Walters, UCL

I spent four years as a postdoc at Warwick, working with Boris (Gansicke) and Tom. I found Tom to be a lovely guy: enthusiastic, caring, and with a formidable mind. One of the cataclysmic variables I worked on (SDSS 0039) showed some strange features in the data which Tom was very excited about. He gave me a detailed description of what he thought was happening, I went off to write the paper, he patiently corrected everything I'd written, I went off and wrote it again, he patiently corrected it some more, and I tried to finish it off in such a way that next time I showed him the manuscript I didn't feel like a child pretending to be a scientist. Tom's huge understanding was what made the analysis work, and I greatly benefited from seeing and trying to emulate how he conducted a research project. A year later I had an observing run in La Palma that I was unable to perform myself, and asked Tom if he could take it. He leapt at the chance, and I was greatly relieved because Tom was an excellent observer. That was the observing run where Brian May visited by helicopter! I still regret not being there myself. But most of all I regret that Tom is no longer here to say insightful things, make perceptive suggestions, smile a lot, and make jokes that made us feel happier. He was a lovely guy, a great asset to the community, and I miss him. From John Southworth, Keele University

Tom was the external examiner for my PhD. At some point over the course of 3 hours I found myself being expertly drawn out of my defensive mindset, into an absorbing, challenging and thrilling discussion as we picked apart, reexamined and discussed the implications of choices I had made. I didn't realise until later how skilfully I had been pushed far out of my comfort zone. It was probably my most enjoyable examination and I left the room exhilarated and newly motivated about where I could take my science. Tom was a talented, inspiring scientist and leaves a massive legacy in the tools and techniques he developed, the instrumentation he built, the discoveries he made, and the collaborations he sparked, but arguably most of all, in the genuinely collaborative open way he approached science. I am very grateful to have met Tom early on in my career, and like so many others who were fortunate to have crossed paths with him from time to time, am heartbroken at this sudden loss. My sincere condolences to Tom's family, friends, colleagues and students. From Gaitee Hussain, European Space Agency

Some time after I moved to the University of Southampton, I noticed that the nameplate on my door had been obviously recycled, and that after the Dr T Ma part, there was the rest of my name in black letters, but the shadow of the rest of Tom's name, which had clearly been scraped off. My thoughts on this for quite some time were just that the University of Southampton was cheap. In the past few months, I've come to take this instead as a sort of honor accidentally bestowed on me. Tom was a brilliant scientist. Most great scientists excel in either creativity or technical skill, but Tom was the rare person who excelled in both. More than that, he was also humble and patient, and always listened carefully when people offered contradictory viewpoints, and either adjusted his own, or (more often, because he was usually right) gave you a good, polite, clear reason why he still didn't agree with what you were saying. Interactions with him followed the textbook model of how the scientific method is supposed to work in the ideal case as closely as anyone I can think of. I offer heartfelt condolences to colleagues at Warwick and in the rest of the astronomical community, but especially to Tom's family. From Tom Maccarone, Texas Tech University

I am deeply saddened by the tragic news of Tom’s passing. I consider myself fortunate to have known Tom well, having been a member of the Warwick white dwarf group from 2013 to 2021 during my PhD and first postdoc. I will never forget Tom’s dedication, intelligence, nor his dry sense of humour. Throughout my time at Warwick, I have vivid memories of our Monday morning meetings, where Tom routinely demonstrated his awe inspiring level of intelligence. No matter the topic under discussion, even if almost everyone else was completely lost, Tom could be relied on to have understood completely, and have several insightful questions. Consequently, one of the proudest moments of my PhD is from my third year, when I was surprised by Tom knocking on my office door, expecting him to ask for someone else or perhaps some admin question. Instead, for the first time, Tom had a scientific question for me. I was chuffed by the prospect that Tom thought I knew something about astrophysics that he did not. It is specifically that moment that I felt I had made it as a scientist, and the confidence boost from Tom’s approval has never left me. A more recent memory of Tom was at this years National Astronomy meeting, which was held at Warwick. In the afternoon I was planning to visit a colleague in the new astronomy building, and Tom kindly offered to go with me to let me in, and give me a little tour. On the way Tom stopped to show me his secret patch of wild strawberries. They were indeed delicious, and while Tom explained how “he was certain no one else on campus had noticed them”, I couldn’t help but think how uniquely Tom that moment was. I was fortunate to meet Tom one last time at the European White Dwarf Workshop in Tübingen, where we joked about a statue in a local museum that was his spitting image, as well as several scientific discussions over bad food and good beer. The astrophysics community will forever feel smaller without Tom’s insight, wit, and kindness. My deepest sympathies for Tom’s family, friends, and colleagues who I know will miss him dearly. From Mark Hollands, University of Sheffield

Thanks for all your efforts over the years, Tom. Your legacy will long live on in the astro community. From Poshak Gandhi, University of Southampton

I remember well being part of the Physics Department in about 2000 to make the very bold decision to grow astronomy and particle physics, which was a big break from its first 35 years. The task was then to recruit the right leaders. I had the honour of sitting on the appointment panel. It became very clear that Tom was the outstanding astronomer and it was fantastic that we attracted him. The next 20 years have shown how lucky Warwick was - the Group with its growth and Warwick's international reputation for astronomy are Tom's lasting legacy. He was an excellent leader and researcher as well as being genuinely collegiate. I found him such a friendly and understated individual who retained his genuine wonder of research and the universe. He will be much missed. From Mark E. Smith CBE, University of Southampton

Dear Danny, I am writing this message in English as I hope you will have the opportunity to also pass it along to Tom's family. My sincere condolences to Tom's family, you and Kara, and our colleagues in Warwick on the passing of Tom. As a PhD student in Amsterdam in the 1990s I developed a deep admiration for Tom and his scientific work. Every time I thought I had found something new and interesting on accretion disks, I would go back into the literature and come across yet-another 'Marsh et al.' paper from years earlier that described exactly those exciting results. What immediately struck me already then was the quality of the work that Tom presented. After we started the Department at Radboud I counted myself lucky that Tom was willing to join the efforts that you, Gijs and I had started to try and unravel AM CVn stars and binary white dwarfs. It was an absolute joy to now be working directly with Tom, and that feeling of `so great he is in on our team' stayed for the twenty years since. Many generations of students have gotten their MScs and PhDs in our Warwick-Radboud collaboration and Tom was always at the center of it: inspiring and critical-yet-supportive. The quality of the research Tom did was, without exception, exceptional and he combined that research quality with a warm and caring personality. A smile would come to my face every time we met. We had many laughs and chuckles during our meetings and that is the image that immediately comes to mind when thinking of Tom and will stay there forever. Although I am grateful that the period of uncertainty over his fate is over, the reality of his passing is now hitting home. As a friend and a colleague I will miss him for a long, long time to come. I hope this message may help a little in the coming period where we will all have to come to grips with the fact that Tom is no longer 'part of the team'. With immense sadness, my warmest regards Paul From Paul Groot, Radboud University / University of Cape Town / SAAO

During my time as an undergraduate at Warwick, Professor Tom Marsh was always such a prominent character within the Astrophysics department. During my Astronomy Masters, Tom was always such a friendly and welcoming presence. I have also had the pleasure to hear him speak passionately about his work on multiple occasions, communicating at a level that was accessible to all. Tom was a brilliant Astronomer and an amazing person. My condolences go to his family, friends and close colleagues. From Vicky Fawcett, Newcastle University

He was an excellent astronomer and excellent person. We will miss him. In fact we are already missing him. From Jordi Isern, Institute for Space Sciences -ICE/CSIC & Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona (RACAB)

I was so shocked and saddened to hear the news about Tom. We had all hoped that, against the odds, he would be found safe and well, but tragically, that was not to be. Although Tom and I did not work closely together, we shared similar interests scientifically, and our paths crossed many times. I used the results of his work on many occasions and was even involved in developments at the same telescope in Thailand where some of his pioneering instrumentation was installed - much to the benefit of that fledgling observatory. Indeed, Tom was one of the most talented and creative, yet modest and unassuming, scientists in our field. He was always happy to chat and went out of his way to help, using his brilliant insight into fundamental problems. He will live on in the memory of so many people whose lives he touched, including mine. With sincerest and heartfelt condolences to Felicity and all his family. From Michael Bode, Professor Emeritus in Astrophysics, Liverpool John Moores University

Lovely chap and a wonderful scientist - he will be much missed. Condolences to family, friends and colleagues. From Tom Shanks, Durham University

I will never forget our first meeting in 2002 when I was a fresh post-doc in Cambridge and Tom was visiting the institute there. His endless knowledge and patience with my lack of knowledge made a deep impression. We continued to work together on and off, where I continued to benefit from Tom's insights, help, and friendliness. When we met again after the covid period on La Silla in September he was as friendly as always, afraid I didn't recognize him with the face mask, taking his off and pointing to his covid-beard. I wish I could have helped him, if only the one time, there on La Silla. You are and will be missed Tom. From Peter Jonker, Radboud University

We are deeply saddened by the demise of Professor Tom Marsh. Please convey our heart-felt condolences to Tom's family. From the nova team at the Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad India (Dipankar Banerjee, N M Ashok, Vishal Joshi and Mudit Srivastava)

I have been truly shocked and saddened by the untimely death of Tom. My deep condolences to the family, friends and colleagues. From Cesare Barbieri Professor Emeritus of Astronomy, University of Padova, Italy

With great sadness, I would like to express my condolences to Tom's family, his wife, son and daughter. And also to his colleagues and friends at Warwick and elsewhere. From Roberto Silvotti, INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Torino

This is with great sadness that I learn Tom's death. I have known him for more than two decades now, especially as I collaborated with him to observe stellar occultations by various bodies of the solar system, including Pluto and Quaoar. The fast cameras that he developed (Ultracam, Hipercam) have been of tremendous help to observe these events at high cadence and various wavelengths. Tom is one of the key authors of an article that I co-authored with him, currently submitted to Nature. The paper reports the discovery of a ring around the trans-Neptunian object Quaoar. This discover is based, among others, on the detection of this ring achieved in June 2019 using Hipercam at the 10.4m Gran Telescopio Canarias. Tom was an open-minded, kind and dynamic colleague and a person that I will most fondly remember. From Bruno Sicardy, Sorbonne Université et Observatoire de Paris, France

When I started in astronomy, Tom was already an authority in the field and it took some time until I got to know him personally. Our collaboration started already well before. Over the years we met regularly at conferences and daily during my half year as Marie Curie Fellow in Warwick. I very much enjoyed the lunches in the canteen with him. He never ate something there, but always brought some bread, apples and other sometimes mysterious pieces in an old plastic bag. Over coffee he was telling stories, which were always interesting and often very funny. I was deeply impressed by his broad knowledge, which went well beyond his own field of research. In astrophysics, Tom was able to help you with whatever problem you had. He kept a fresh enthusiasm and was full of creative ideas. Given his many responsibilities in the department and beyond, I always admired him for keeping this spirit alive. We will all miss his expertise, but also his kind and modest personality. He was a great colleague, mentor and role model to many of us. The image I am attaching might seem a little bit odd. It shows a view from a boat during the social trip of the binary stars conference in Mykonos 2010. Since I am quite sensitive to sea-sickness and the waves were significant, I decided to stay outside. Tom, however, was sitting inside right behind me at that time. This is how I learned, that he shared my sensitivity. Afterwards we were joking that his seating choice was a bad idea. I would like to express my most sincere condolences to his family. From Stephan Geier, University of Potsdam

This is very sad news, I met him for the first time on 2022 September 15-19 during the EUROWD22 in Tübingen, Germany. We will keep memorizing him as a good professor forever. From Kittipong Wangnok, School of Physics, Institute of Science, Suranaree University of Technology, Thailand

While it is now 6 years since I left Physics at Warwick, during the 13 years we worked together, I considered Tom to be a great colleague and a good friend. Although there isn’t much overlap in terms of research between Nanoscale Surface Physics and Astronomy, from the moment Tom joined the Department in 2003 we interacted, since at that time - as a non-astronomer - I was teaching the first year Astronomy course. We talked a lot about that, and Tom was always very generous with his time, suggestions and support. We also worked on a couple of outreach projects for the university, most memorable for me being the time we set up a number of telescopes outside of the Physics Department for staff and students to come out and observe the rare transit of Venus that occurred in June 2004. Throughout all the time I knew Tom he was never too busy to discuss a problem or an issue that he thought he could help with, or to take on something for the group or the Department. As a result, there is a generation of Physics students out there who benefitted enormously from Tom’s insights, his infectious enthusiasm and great teaching of a subject he clearly loved. His loss will be keenly felt, and he will be deeply missed by the entire Physics community at Warwick and beyond in the UK and in the international Astronomy communities. Finally, let me add my most heartfelt condolences to Tom's family for your terrible loss, and to the close friends and colleague who knew and worked with him. Without any trace of irony, it is true to say that, he really was a star. From Chris McConville, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

I never met Tom in person, but I did know his research papers, and was very impressed with the creativity and foresight of his work. Tom’s paper I am most familiar with was about microlensing by white dwarfs in binary systems. He predicted these and created a model for the phenomenon in 2001, and thirteen years later the first example was found in the Kepler data (KOI-3278). I was hoping to meet him to congratulate him in person, but sadly that will no longer be possible. May his memory bless his family, and may he Rest In Peace. From Eric Agol, University of Washington

While I had met Tom once or twice outside of conferences, we had only ever exchanged a few words here and there, apart from one time for perhaps ten minutes in the tea room at Warwick University. Still, on one occasion we shared one night of overlap while observing at La Silla, I starting my run at the 2.2 m telescope and he finishing his at the NTT with, of course, Ultracam. At one point during the night, while I was idling during a longer exposure, he called me over to show me his latest observations of a very intriguing system, and he asked me not to mention the data to anybody, but he explained them to me in the last detail and we discussed the implied science for quite a bit. I think this just shows his enthusiasm for science and also his openness towards a colleague whom he didn't know really very well, but still would discuss with him a sort of super secret data result. He is sorely missed. From Claus Tappert, Instituto de Física y Astronomía, Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile

Although I did not meet him personally during my research career, based on the various collaborations Tom had with the stellar astronomy group led by Prof. Dr. Ulrich Heber at the Dr. Karl Remeis Observatory in Bamberg (Germany), I can confirm that he was a unique person who loved and lived science and stellar objects. My condolences go out to all family members, to the working group at Warwick, and in general to all of us who had the privilege to work with this great and passionate scientist. From Dr. David Schneider, Dr. Karl Remeis-Observatory & ECAP, Astronomical Institute, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), Germany

I only have a few memories of Tom as a person, beyond friendly advice on the other side of an email after I came to him with yet another installation problem. As I stand here, I'm thinking particularly of what legacy he will leave. His work on the ULTRACAM and HiPERCAM pipeline may seem some small footnote of his life, but, amongst many other things, it enabled a little PhD placement at Southampton a few years ago in the study of black hole X-ray binaries, filled by a bright-eyed Masters student entranced by the idea of what the instruments could do. Since then, every one of my papers has, in some capacity, used that very pipeline. That code still sits on my machine to this day, and will continue to for years to come. I genuinely would not be where I was today if it was not for Tom. He will live on, not only in our hearts, but in the science that he touched. From John A Paice, University of Southampton/ Manchester

I would like to send my sincere condolences to Tom's family, his friends and his colleagues at Warwick Physics and all over the world. I have many fond memories of Tom, particularly from the years I worked at Warwick, and the times I ran in to him at the ESO guesthouse in Santiago. I always greatly enjoyed our lunches together, where we liked to compare the vegetables and fruit we brought from home for our lunches, and talk about how our gardens were doing. Tom always had sage words of advice when I was stuck with misbehaving instruments and stubborn datasets, usually delivered with his characteristic sense of humour. I learned so much from you Tom, you will be sorely missed. From Klaas Wiersema, Lancaster University

My sincere condolences for the tragic loss of your family member who was a highly valued colleague to us astronomers. From Jan-Uwe Ness, ESA

I am deeply saddened by the loss of Tom, whom I always highly regarded. He has left a lasting impression. My most sincere condolences to his family and friends. From René Rutten, Gemini Observatory, Chile

Tom was one of my first lecturers back when I started my undergraduate degree back in 2014. I always remember how excellent of a teacher he was, extremely friendly and easy to listen to whilst explaining difficult concepts in a way that was very accessible. I was very saddened to hear of his passing, and my condolences are with his family and all those that were close to him. From Michael Negus, University of Oxford

Tom was an integral part of my student years at the University of Southampton (1998-2002). He taught the introductory course on astronomy during my first year (PH112), supervised my bachelor dissertation entitled "The progenitors of Type Ia supernovae", and provided a very complete fourth-year course on cosmology (PH401). His were part of the few course notes I have kept to this day. Little did I know back then that these topics were to become my main research areas during my PhD and up to this day twenty years later. Our paths only crossed on few occasions since Southampton (I believe the last time we met was at a conference held in Montreal in 2014), but I remember being impressed by his commitment to starting a new Astronomy department from scratch in Warwick the year following my graduation. I remember Tom as someone with a genuine interest in science and an almost child-like excitement when discussing any scientific topic. He was definitely smart and witty as many have noted, but what most struck me about him was his humility. Tom will continue to live on in our minds and in our daily research activities. From Stéphane Blondin, Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille, France

Having collaborated with Tom on a number of projects over the last 15 years, I was utterly delighted to see Tom again at the RAS meeting on radio transients in May this year in London. It was a wonderful surprise to meet him again in person after three long covid years. True to his remarkable character he engaged with students and young researchers during the lunch and coffee breaks at this meeting, inspiring them to think of new and exciting projects. His work on high-speed photometry and ultracompact binaries was ground breaking and truly inspirational. His tragic loss will be felt by all his colleagues across the world. In South Africa, where many colleagues have worked with Tom, we all mourn the loss of Tom. No one, perhaps, more so than my friend and close colleague Brian Warner who was profoundly saddened to learn of Tom's passing. On behalf of Brian and the entire Astronomy department at the University of Cape Town, I express my profound sadness and extend my deepest sympathies to Tom's family and the colleagues at the University of Warwick. From Patrick Woudt, University of Cape Town

I am shocked and sadden by the tragic news about Tom. He was an excellent, creative scientist whose insights helped a wide range of studies. It was always a pleasure to meet up with him, he was one of the good guys. My sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues in Warwick. From Andy Shearer, University of Galway

Tom Marsh was an amazing scientist, inspiration , mentor and a friend who touched many people's lives one way or another. I know Tom from conferences that we met over the years and particularly, in my early years as a faculty, as part of a COST action when I had visited University of Warwick astronomy group back in 2008. I always remember his inviting me over for dinner and having me meet his family, as well. I would like to express my deepest condolences to the Warwick and UK astrophysics community together with the WD sciences community over the globe. I offer heartfelt respect and strength to Tom's family in these difficult times. From Prof. Dr. Sölen Balman, Istanbul University

I had the pleasure of getting in touch with Tom for the first time in March this year, when I wrote an email to him and Vik about the possibility of arranging observations with the NTT telescope in La Silla as part of a multiband campaign on a source that I had been studying for the last few years. Only a few hours later, he replied to me confirming the availability of the telescope. The campaign was a success, and shortly before his last trip to La Silla he wrote to me confirming his willingness to analyze the data as soon as he returned from the trip. I express my deepest condolences to his family. From Francesco Coti Zelati, Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC)

I loved going to your lectures, learning about special relativity was awesome! My favourite memory is going to your office and working through a mechanics problem that I was really struggling with, it made perfect sense after you explained the physics to me. Thank you professor. From Rhys Rawlings, former student (Physics BSc)

Professor Marsh was a passionate physicist and a caring and committed mentor. I am so grateful to have known him as both a lecturer and an advisor. I thank Professor Marsh for the grounding he gave me in my physics education. My thoughts are with his family at this unbelievably difficult time. I am so very sorry for your loss. From Katie Croft, Former Warwick Physics student

Tom was my project supervisor in my final year at Warwick. He was so friendly and helpful. He always had time to answer questions and explain things. I met my husband while doing this project and for that I will be forever grateful. We wouldn't have enjoyed the project so much if it wasn't for such a great supervisor! My deepest condolences to his family. Thank you Tom. Rest in peace xx From Zoe Walker, former student

group photo working

I met Tom for the first time in a meeting in Cape Town more than 20yrs ago where cataclysmic variables and particularly the magnetic ones were subject of the conference. I was impressed by his work and his positive attitude in discussing open problems. Since that time I had several science projects where Tom was also involved and I could well realise his high scientific level and human approach with the so many colleagues working on these projects spanning a wide range of science themes and at the same time deeply involving himself with enthusiasm. His enthusiasm motivated new other projects attracting many other world-wide colleagues and students. I attach a photo when we met in 2004 in Madrid in the framework of the activities of NUVA to promote UV astronomy and future instruments. He was able to build up the Astronomy and Astrophysics group at Warwick University, which is nowadays a reference research institution for many UK and foreign students with whom I was pleased to collaborate. He also made significant contribution for the development of the most performant high time instruments at optical wavelengths which many of us have obtained great data and important scientific results. We exchanged a few emails on the projects we were involved together before his disappearance in mid September and I, as most of his colleagues, have been for about 2months, worrying about his health. With immense sorrow I've heard about his tragic death and with these few lines I would like to express my condolence to his wife, son and daughter and all his close friends and colleagues in Warwick. Tom, we all will sorely miss you! From Domitilla de Martino, National Institute for Astrophysics INAF - Capodimonte Observatory Naples, Italy

My first contact with Tom came in the form of a string of emails from him asking insightful questions about a paper of mine. A few years later, he emailed to let me know he had, wholly unprompted by me, observed some stars related to my research and wanted to know if I was interested in the data. Each time, I was struck by how such an eminent astronomer had cared enough to do something for a scientist he'd never met. In the past several years, I had the great fortune to meet Tom in person at a few conferences and to stay in a dorm with him during a workshop. And after each encounter, I came away impressed by his scientific prowess and also his kind, welcoming, and funny nature (especially with respect to his culinary nemesis, mushrooms). I count myself extremely lucky to have had a chance to know Tom. His absence will be deeply felt by me and everyone who knew him inside and outside of research. From Ken Shen, UC Berkeley

I had the pleasure of knowing Tom during my PhD, and was fortunate enough to work and observe with him on a number of occasions. I learned much from him during those times and he was a hugely inspirational person in the years that followed. His pure and enthusiastic approach to science and critical thinking was something we all aspired to emulate. His pragmatic approach to problem solving and research generally was always crucial to the success of any project he was involved with and is the foundation for the success of all his students. I know he will be sorely missed and his legacy, especially at Warwick, is hard to overstate. My deepest condolences go to his family, colleagues and friends. From Joao Bento, Liverpool John Moores University

I remember the first time I came to Warwick, many years ago, being in awe of Tom whom I only knew from papers and all the tools I have been using that he created. But he was so nice and friendly, and I was impressed by the atmosphere during lunch breaks or having tea. Science was always the driver of the conversations. I have learned so much from him. RIP From Linda Schmidtobreick, ESO Chile

I was deeply shocked when I first heard about Tom's disappearance on La Silla, and then frantically checked the news each day for good news. Unfortunately, this news never came. We have lost a great human, mentor, and scientist. I started working at Warwick in January 2004, as the third academic in the then-young and small astronomy group after Tom and Boris, having been hired during the fall of 2003. Tom did a formidable job at making me feel at home in what was then a very small group, he helped me manoeuvring the UK academic system, and also taught me on how to live in the UK (How do I find a place to live? What's a property ladder? How do I register a car? Why are cities so crazy on Friday evenings?). His enthusiasm for astronomy and observing was visible in everything he did, and there was nothing that could make him happier than seeing some weird time series or strange spectrum, and discussing what this would all mean. Discussing ideas for new lectures, the astronomy laboratory, or for BSc research showed how he cared about students and about how to convey this enthusiasm to the next generation. Unfortunately, the early 2000s were a time when the UK funding situation in astronomy was under severe pressure, and after one of the most strange rejection letters from a funding agency that I've received in my career so far, and even though I was extremely happy with the environment at Warwick, on the day of the deadline for my current position I rage-applied for that position and then left the group after only 2.5 years. Despite this short time, however, I would not be where I am now if it was not for Tom, and I've always looked back fondly at my time in Warwick, when Tom's mentorship taught me so much about how to convey one's enthusiasm for science, how to lead a research group, how to teach in the Bachelor's/Master's system and how to manoeuvre the intricacies of physics departments. Unfortunately, Tom's and my research developed in different directions and I have not been back to the Department since, but whenever I did meet Tom somewhere (last in a hotel in Garching), we chatted as if I had never left. Tom will be sorely missed. I would like to express my deepest condolences to his family. From Joern Wilms, Remeis-Observatory & ECAP, FAU Erlangen-Nuernberg, Bamberg, Germany

I met Tom when I started my PhD at the end of 2005. I quickly realised how out of the ordinary he was. He was always very eager to help I was always amazed about the vast knowledge he had about everything. Not only he was a brilliant scientist, but he was also a great person. I found this combination admirable and to me he has always been like a superhero. I am very sad about what happened and I will miss him very much. His questions after each and every talk I have given, his great sense of humour, the conversations. My biggest condolences to his family and closer friends and colleagues. From Alberto Rebassa Mansergas, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

I'm really sad and sorry to hear this news. I first met Tom at a conference in Santa Fe in 1989, when our mutual colleague Janet Wood introduced us. We sat on the same table for quite a few of the talks (Cambridge and U Texas people) and I learned quite a bit from Tom's sotto voce comments about the presentations. Tom has been an ever-present research leader since I returned to the UK - he was so knowledgeable and quick to reach conclusions. He also took teaching responsibilities really seriously, well before there was much externally-imposed pressure to do so. He will be very greatly missed by everyone in UK astrophysics, particularly in the time-domain astronomy community. His contributions shaped so much, and will continue to be influential as we build on foundations he made. On a personal level I can't imagine how painful this loss must be for you, his family. There aren't really any words adequate to expressing a response to what has happened. The only small consolation I can think of is that he died while visiting probably the most beautiful observatory setting in the world, one that we all enjoy visiting. Condolences. From Prof Carole Haswell, The Open University

Tom was a frequent La Silla visitor and this is where I met him while working as a support astronomer. Visiting astronomers are always under pressure to do more observing and to get more data. He was one of the calmest and most level-headed visitor, and among the easiest to work with. He will be remembered for his kindness. From Valentin D. Ivanov, ESO

I only worked indirectly with Tom on a couple of occasions, but always enjoyed talking with him and discussing ideas both during his time at Southampton and at Warwick. As others have said, Tom was one of the nice guys of astronomy - he was always approachable and always good company. He was also super smart - if Tom had figured something out regarding an astrophysics problem, you knew it was correct. I wish we'd worked together more and regret that my university did not appoint him to a chair here when it had the chance to do so! His loss leaves a big hole in UK astronomy and he will be greatly missed. From Andrew Norton, The Open University

I interviewed for a lectureship in Tom's group in the mid-00s. I didn't give a very good account of myself, and unsurprisingly didn't get the job. Tom was kind enough afterwards to give me the time to provide some really great constructive feedback that ultimately helped me get my current position. Thank you, Tom - you didn't have to do that, and I remain grateful that you did. From Tim Roberts, Durham University

I met Tom when I joined the Warwick Astronomy Group while doing my PhD. He had founded the group a few years earlier and back then it was a lot smaller than it is today, no more than a dozen people in total. I have many happy memories of my time with Tom and the rest of the group whether relaxing over coffee or working. Tom was always a friendly, helpful and positive person to work with and I can’t imagine the group without him. My thoughts are with his family and his colleagues. From George Marshall, former PhD student

Tom was a brilliant scientist, a giant in the field and he is missed greatly. The amount of emails I sent him asking him for help to get his code running on my computer would probably annoy the most patient people, but he always responded in the most helpful way. Tom's contributions to astrophysics will live forever, as they deserve to. My deepest condolences to Tom's family, friends and colleagues. From Dr. Aarran Shaw, University of Nevada, Reno

Tom was an inspiration and a joy to collaborate with. I wrote an entire paper inspired by a 10 minute conversation with Tom at a conference in Copenhagen in 2019. His clarity of insight and openness in sharing ideas were such a huge benefit to our research community. Tom's model leadership in our field will be deeply missed. From Evan Bauer, Harvard & Smithsonian

Tom left a legacy of amazing scientific work, excellent mentorship, and kindness. I had the pleasure of meeting him at several conferences, and spent three weeks with him at a workshop in Copenhagen. I admired his scientific mind, and his skills at table tennis, foosball, and darts; he won every game that he played during that workshop. May he rest in peace. He will be sorely missed in the white dwarf community. From Mukremin Kilic, University of Oklahoma

My condolences to all who loved Tom. If the academic world is a family, Tom was for me and many others, a grandparent, even if our ages were not separated by so many years. My formative years in astronomy were sprinkled with Tom’s gentle yet fundamental influence, both directly from him and through the guidance of those he himself mentored. Wherever I have spread my problem-solving wings thereafter, the foundations Tom provided have delivered an impact. I am so intensely grateful to him for showing me a way into science that was exhilarating and demanding, yet attainable and rewarding. He will be sorely missed by many while leaving a legacy for understanding around the world. From Martin Still, National Science Foundation

I first met Tom during my PhD, when he accompanied me on an observing trip to Hawaii. In common with almost everyone in the UK binary stars community, Tom would go on to have a profound impact on my research and career, but his first influence was to persuade me to abandon McDonalds for a decent fish restaurant. At first I found Tom's intelligence a bit intimidating. In the second year of my PhD I can remember puzzling over some data we had taken; I had been scratching my head about it for weeks. Tom took one look at it and had the answer within seconds, which was bad enough, but then it took me another week to understand his explanation! Fortunately for me and so many others, Tom was as patient and generous with his time as he was quick with his mind. As a result, it's impossible to understate how much I relied on Tom over the years. There isn't a single piece of work I've done, or a paper published that doesn't have a contribution from Tom, or relied on some software he knocked up in a couple of days that has been used for years since. Tom always seemed happiest when he had a problem to work on, and couldn't seem to leave things unsolved. My wife still refers to Tom as the "2 Euro Man" after a night out at the Cool Stars conference in Barcelona in 2012. On the way from the conference venue to the hotel, Tom dropped a 2€ coin down the wide drains that line the streets. The coin was, tantalisingly, just out of reach. That night in the bar we spent the whole night discussing various schemes to retrieve the coin. I think my wife thought Tom was a touch mad, but it was the fact that there *had* to be an elegant solution that drove him. The next morning as we walked to breakfast, we met Tom gleefully clutching a collection of long bendy straws, some blu-tac and the precious 2€ piece! I don't think I've ever seen him look so pleased. I will miss Tom so much, professionally and personally. Every day there is some new result that I want to show him, or a problem I want to ask him about. He will be so missed. From Stuart Littlefair, University of Sheffield

I first met Tom in 2003 when I visited the University of Southampton to interview for a PhD position. I don't remember Tom being involved in the interviews themselves, but he did take the time to meet and talk to all of us nervous undergraduates, and my abiding memory of that day is his warmth and friendliness. In 2006 I joined Warwick as the postdoc funded to exploit the ULTRACAM instrument, and I worked under Tom in that role for six years. It's impossible to exaggerate how important those years were for my career, working under the guidance of someone as inspiring and enthusiastic as Tom. As well as the papers we published together, the skills I learned as an observer and as part of the ULTRACAM instrument team helped me find my niche within the astronomical community, and led me to the observatory role I have today. I owe a huge debt to Tom: as a mentor and a manager he was unfailingly kind and supportive. As a scientist and a leader he was an inspirational figure to us all. I last saw him at the National Astronomy Meeting in Warwick this year and as usual he was full of enthusiasm about the work going on at Warwick, and supportive and interested in the projects I was telling him about. It was a privilege and a pleasure to know him and work with him. His loss will be deeply felt. From Chris Copperwheat, Liverpool John Moores University

Tom has left the place, his place. It was the place of an enquirer and questioner, of an instrument builder, of a programmer and code developer, of a source of ever new amazing observations, of an inspiring mentor, of an authority in the best sense being unpretentious and approachable. That’s how I got to know him, mainly from conferences and many mails. Tom has left his place in the community. I feel honored to have known him and to have shared projects with him. Thank you, Tom. My best wishes are with your family. From Axel Schwope, Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP)

When I first met Tom is rather lost in the mists of time - probably in the early 1990's at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge. Since then we have encountered each other at various meetings and conferences, PhD vivas and seminars at each others institution and occasionally passing encounters in the departure lounge at Birmingham airport. As others have said, Tom was always good company. My strongest memory is of Tom always having a current favourite binary star that he was either off to observe or was analysing the data and hearing him talk passionately and convincingly about why it was so important. He had so many achievements in his career, both scientifically (Doppler Tomography, ULTRACAM amongst many of note) but also in terms of management and leadership, forming the astro group at Warwick and taking it to what it is now. I will miss you Tom. From Ian Stevens, University of Birmingham, UK

viva viva2

I met Tom during my first month of my PhD program, while I was visiting Warwick University. After, we met a few times at Warwick, and also at conferences all over. He was always interested in my research, and he always kindly made time for my questions. It was an honor to have him ask me questions during my PhD defense; I remember his genuine interest and insight. His tragic loss deeply saddens me, and I want to extend my condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. From Roque Ruiz-Carmona, Gemini Observatory/NSF's NOIRab/AURA - former Radboud University PhD candidate

We met briefly and only a few times, and I wish we could speak much more. The first time I 'met' Tom was by reading his papers on mass transfer in binary white dwarfs, and I always had an impression of him as a classical astronomer so well-established that their research has made its way into textbooks. The first time we met in person was at a conference in Armenia, where I humbly discovered how kind and friendly Tom was to me, even though we knew each other very little. Later on, as our research overlapped a bit more, it was comforting for me to think of Tom being in this white dwarf field. He has always been one of the 'pillar people' (for not knowing a better word) on whom the field rested and made good sense. Tom always shared ideas and asked questions that were genuinely distinct, interesting, and to the point. So, it felt that if we got something wrong, he would surely fix it. Finally, my impression of the community was that Tom's kind and caring side was as important to people as his science. There is no need to say he will be missed by many. From Alexey Bobrick, Technion

My memories of Tom are how kind and patient he was, although one of the most memorable ones was during his visit to Chiang Mai in 2014. There was an unusual feature in one of the data, and I wanted to ask Tom about it. He was already on his way to the airport to fly back to the UK that day. But Tom told me I could come to the airport if I wanted. He waited and we talked before he boarded the plane. No words can describe his dedication and kindness. I will always cherish these memories of you, Tom. From Puji Irawati, NARIT, Thailand

I’ve been at a total loss as what to say on Tom’s tragic passing, which was announced while I was away. No words can adequately express my feeling and emotions about the loss of a great colleague, collaborator and friend, whom I’ve known for nearly 4 decades. Tom was a true inspiration and his talents and insights over many aspects of astronomy were amazing. I have really valued our growing collaborations over the years, which recently culminated for me in our work on unusual or unique examples of fast spinning magnetized white dwarfs in binary systems. It was the recent exiting discovery of a new example, which became one of Tom’s targets for his observing at ESO and for which my colleagues and I were supporting from South Africa and elsewhere. The elation brought by the scientific prospects, which were discussing right up to Tom’s departure from the UK, was replaced by the utter the shock of his disappearance and the subsequent grief on discovering that he had died. I can only imagine how utterly distraught his family are at this time, together with his community of colleagues and friends at Warwick and indeed across the UK and the globe. There are few of my collaborators who have not been deeply affected by this incredibly sad event. Not only was Tom a fantastic scientist and researcher, who time and again showed a level of insightfulness and talent for interpretation of observations that were game changing, but he was also an excellent instrumentalist, having a leading role in developing some truly innovative astronomical instruments, like Ultracam and Hipercam. I fondly remember observing with Tom and his colleagues at La Palma, which was both an inspirational and fun time, despite not always having the best observing conditions. Cloudy night card games and banter are happy memories too. His sardonic humour and wit, one of his endearing aspects, inevitably came to the fore, much to everyone’s delight. Tom’s legacy is immense, not the least in building the astronomy group at Warwick, but also his contributions in a “renewal” or expansion of our research field. In addition, his support of students and early careers researchers in the UK and elsewhere have been huge contributions. His loss is immense for so many reasons. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and colleagues at the loss of a husband, father and friend. His departure leaves a yawning emptiness now for so many. Our solace, if there is any, are our collective memories and our past work together. Goodbye Tom. From David Buckley, South African Astronomical Observatory, Cape Town

Group Group2

Tom has been a pre-eminent contributor to the ongoing research taking place at the ING. He was a prolific user of the William Herschel and Isaac Newton telescopes, starting with IDS, and then, of course, with ISIS. His primary research field was compact binary objects, but since he had such broad interests and expertise across astronomy, his work covered nearly all areas of research conducted at the ING. His first observing run at the ING was with INT/IDS in October 1985 and for the following 37 years he continued his involvement with the observatory, starting as a young postdoc at the Royal Greenwich Observatory in 1986. He served on the ING Board from October 2001 to October 2004. Tom brought many students to the ING. As a professor at the University of Warwick he was an advocate of giving them direct experience of working at observatories and using the telescopes themselves. He regularly brought his post-graduates to the Roque with him. Back at Warwick, he encouraged people to apply for the studentship programme at the ING and several of these students went on to work here. Through a partnership between Sheffield and Warwick Universities (in a consortium with several other institutions), Tom was a founder and co-creator of the ULTRACAM and HiPERCAM cameras. ULTRACAM was commissioned on the WHT in May 2002, and was mounted many times until September 2015 when it made a permanent move to the NTT in Chile. Tom’s recent Nature paper on the white dwarf binary pulsar AR Sco featured data taken at the WHT using ULTRACAM. This is the first so-called “white dwarf pulsar” where beamed radiation from an accreting white dwarf induces secondary radiation as it sweeps across the companion star. First light of HiPERCAM was at the WHT in late 2017. During that frantic week, Tom was actively working on the software suite for data acquisition and reduction, posting updates in real-time as the rest of the team were pointing the telescope at the sky. His software development was extensive and comprehensive and he has written tools and utilities that are actively used by several groups around the world. This reflects another aspect of Tom’s generosity, working tirelessly on these systems and sharing them freely with the rest of the astronomy community. Always happy to support and help less-expert users, Tom documented his software and hosted web sites for download and installation. For example, Pamela and Molly are industrial strength spectroscopy reduction tools that are used by many institutions and taught to new spectroscopy observers. Most important of all, Tom was a wonderful friend and a perfect mentor. Happy to inspire us all with his boundless enthusiasm and curiosity and just as keen to have a laugh or crack a quick joke. His dry, witty observations almost, but not quite, concealed deep intelligence and experience, “If your errors look wrong, they are wrong.” He could not resist a new, quirky light curve. Long nights at the telescope with him were made shorter through conversations about research in astronomy, politics or any other random topic. He inspired generations of new astronomers and that is probably his greatest legacy. The Universe is a poorer place without him and we, at the ING, will miss him deeply. Our thoughts now are with Tom’s family in the face of their devastating loss. From Richard Ashley, Marc Balcells, Chris Benn, Ian Skillen (on behalf of the Isaac Newton Group, La Palma)

It is fascinating to think back on all of Tom's accomplishments, given how I remember him as so often being such a quiet and even humble individual. The department at Warwick always felt very much like it was a second home to him; his office full of trinkets and memorabilia that had been collected from observing trips and conferences over the years, as well as glimpses of his actual home and family as well. Perhaps he was known for his work amongst the stars and cosmos, but I always felt him to be a very grounded, friendly person to know. Underneath, there was a great intellect there, applied not only to astrophysics but pure statistics and even computer programming, all of which he was willing to share and use to craft his way towards whichever goal he was currently aiming toward. Of all the projects and papers he was involved with, I will always remember Ultracam the most. Undoubtedly it was a tool to reach scientific ends, but it would have never achieved such success if it had been just any other project. I am certain it was a true passion for him, and I look back upon my involvement with it fondly. It was a remarkable experience, being able to watch the data that Tom and others had been waiting for, sometimes for years, as it appeared there live on the screen. The excitement and fascination was always genuine. There is some comfort to know he has left behind a lasting impact not only on astrophysics, but the people he has met as well, yet it still can feel like a small comfort, at least, right now. Dedicated, remarkable, knowledgeable, yet always curious, always approachable; Tom is someone I have been thoroughly glad to have studied under and worked with over those precious few years. May you rest in peace, Tom. From Richard D.G. Hickman, former PhD student

I was a postgrad student with Tom at IoA Cambridge in the early 1980s. I remember him as affable and (by astrophysicist standards) down-to-earth. It was a pleasure following his later professional success from afar, and I was shocked to hear of his loss. My condolences to his family and friends. From Jonathan McDowell, Center for Astrophysics - Harvard and Smithsonian

I first met Tom back in the early 90's when a few of us from MSSL drove up to Oxford for a meeting on Rosat and CVs. Later myself and Mark Cropper would pop down to Southampton to work on some joint projects. Later, I got to know Tom a bit better at meetings, workshops, post-viva events and many trips to Warwick where he would always be keen to show me the latest graph or plot about some weird new object his team had discovered. As all the previous contributions attest, Tom always had good questions and advice about the new work I was telling him about. He also had a quick and loud laugh which would ripple down the corridor! Tom was one of the very best of us and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him. My deepest sympathies to his family and the whole Warwick group. From Gavin Ramsay, Armagh Observatory

I was deeply shocked by the terrible news about the mysterious disappearance of Tom Marsh just a few weeks after our last meeting in August. Almost every day I checked different internet sources hoping to find good news before the tragic one appeared about finding his body. I first learned about Tom in the late 1980s when I was a student working on modeling double-peaked profiles of emission lines from accreting discs. I was thrilled about the prospect of a new method of Doppler tomography, developed by Tom Marsh and Keith Horne in 1988. Since then I started reading all of Tom’s papers. He was a great and inspirational scientist. I first met Tom in person in June of 1998, when we both attended the Summer School “Astrophysical Discs” in Cambridge, Tom was a lecturer, and I was a participant. I was impressed that he was always surrounded by young colleagues with whom he generously shared his vast knowledge. Since then, we have met many times at different conferences and also on La Palma, where Tom often observed. I wish I had the opportunity to work with Tom closer, but I’m glad that I had the privilege to collaborate with Tom on several projects. The last time we had a long discussion was in August in Tuebingen, just a few weeks before Tom’s disappearance. I send my deepest condolences to Tom's family and friends. This is a great loss to all of us but he will remain in our hearts forever. May you rest in peace, Tom. From Vitaly Neustroev, University of Oulu, Finland

It's hard to summarize a handful or several years of amazing interactions. But if I were to try, then I would say 'always fruitful', as Tom was both generous and of course knowledgeable. I feel lucky for the projects that blossomed over the past few years, including one that was born from a hallway conversation at a meeting, where we applied for and got the data within a few days. Tom was with me for one particular discovery that was like two kids on safari, pointing, exclaiming, jumping out of our seats all night. I will always cherish these memories. From Jay Farihi, University College London

I first met Tom as a young, newly qualified postdoc in Southampton, and he was kindness itself with my nervousness and ignorance. He was always willing to help (and able to help with almost anything!) and making my time there both enjoyable and far more productive than I had thought possible. He will be very much missed. From Andy Newsam, National Schools' Observatory

This is with great sadness that I learned of this tragic outcome for Tom. He was a highly appreciated person and respected scientist in our fields, and we will very much miss him. I wish to express my deepest condolences to Tom's family and his closest colleagues from the Warwick group. From Stéphane Charpinet, IRAP / CNRS / Université de Toulouse

I have many fond memories from our time that we spent together at Oxford. Tom's sense of humor was great and he often had a wry smile. I particularly remember lunch times when Tom would invariably be pulling various homegrown vegetables out of a carrier bag and munching on them - the runner beans particularly sticking in my memory - he must have been the healthiest person there. His charm and personality will be greatly missed in the UK and International astronomical community. We have lost one of the greats. From Melvin Hoare, University of Leeds

Group of scientists Standing group

Great person and a great scientist! My sincere condolences to his family. From David Mkrtichian, NARIT

Tom will always live in my memories as a great, generous, competent and highly respected colleague with whom I had the privilege of interacting and learning in the early years of my research, he's now there in the Olympus Mountain of astrophysics together with other bright minds who have enlightened us forever. From Eduardo Martin, Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias

Tom on an observing run Fixing equipment

I met Tom in 2013 when he hired me as a postdoc. I worked with him and the white dwarf group in Warwick until 2015. He was always very friendly and kind to me. We shared many meals in the University and I even got the pleasure to travel with him to La Palma for an ULTRACAM run. I was amazed about how much he enjoyed going on observing runs, and how hands-on and knowledgeable he was. I feel very honoured to have shared some time with him, he will be definitely missed. My deepest condolences to Tom's family, friends and colleagues. From Silvia Catalan, former postdoc

I had the pleasure of meeting Tom at a few times, at conferences. My strongest memory is being roped into foosball (table football) games with Tom. He was a fiercely competitive foosball player. That memory brings a smile to my face. Tom will be missed. From Warren R Brown, Smithsonian

I was fortunate to have known Tom from his time at Oxford University (1993-94). We last saw each other in Armenia at a conference on cataclysmic variables in 2019. In my memory, Tom will always be a smart, charismatic, bright person. I found a photo taken in 1993 (or 1994) in Oxford at lunch with Tom's family. Pictured: Tom and little Henry. From Elena Pavlenko, Crimean Astrophysical Observatory

I am still in disbelief at how quickly we lost Tom, who was one of the most impressive scientists I have ever met. Tom left a deep legacy in astronomy, from his widely used software tools to the many students and colleagues he inspired. We often joked about how good Tom was at everything: I learned within my first week at the University of Warwick in 2015 not to try him at badminton, and I never bested him in our many games of table football (or as Alina Istrate, his regular opponent at conferences would call it -- kickers). But Tom was at his best solving problems in astronomy. He knew exactly what questions to ask, and how to ask them quickly and unassumingly. It always felt like Tom was in the trenches with you on a problem, and always wanted to share in the delight of new discovery. I will especially miss Tom's generosity of time, and his spontaneity. I feel incredibly lucky to have known Tom for more than a decade, and for all of our inspiring and engaging conversations. My deepest condolences to his family. From JJ Hermes, Boston University

Dear family and friends, With this message, I would like to send my deepest condolences to you. I will miss Tom's presence at meetings, his deep knowledge, insights, and especially his kindness and humour. The warmth and interest he showed to anyone, to long-term collaborators but also young and early-career scientist, I've always appreciated very much. He probably never realised how much these simple chats have been motivating to me (e.g. when I visited Warwick during my PhD) and inspiring to pay forward. He will be missed, warm wishes, Silvia. From Silvia Toonen, University of Amsterdam

My first meeting with Tom was under somewhat strained circumstances: I was being interviewed for a faculty position at the University of Birmingham, and Tom sat on the interview panel. Yet despite the awkward environment, I distinctly recall thinking that I met a real gentleman. I was then delighted to have a number of opportunities to interact with Tom during my time at Birmingham during a series of visits and return visits, all of which confirmed that first impression. Although I never got the chance to know Tom closely, I fondly recall our conversations. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and close colleagues! From Ilya Mandel, Monash University, Australia

I first met Tom at the White Dwarf meeting in Austin, Texas. I fondly remember sitting at a pub with him and staring at the lightcurve of ZTF J1539 and hearing him repeatedly tell me that the stunning deep eclipse in the source would make it an excellent timing target. Soon thereafter, he secured time on HiPERCAM to observe the source, and before I knew it, I was sending him more sources, asking him questions, and learning more from him than I have any other colleague, because he really, really, knew this stuff, and shared my excitement about it. I invited Tom to be a 5th member of my PhD committee because I couldn't imagine doing a thesis defense on optical observations of ultracompact binaries without him serving on the committee. During the pandemic, I discovered slack, and Tom and I began to correspond every single day, and we collaborated closely on several papers (he was 2nd and 3rd author on my two most recent papers). My last message to him, the night before he disappeared, was asking for a letter of recommendation and guidance during job applications, to which he enthusiastically responded, yes of course. I am lucky to have met him, and know that I would not be the scientist I am today if it were not for all of his guidance and the genuine enthusiasm and curiosity driving him, which were an inspiration for me. His friendship is sorely missed every day. From Kevin Burdge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

I've been putting off writing this for a long time. This is partly because it means accepting that Tom is really gone, and partly because it's difficult to put into words how much I looked up to him -- not just as a scientist, but also as a friend and mentor. I have been thinking about him a lot. I always suffered from impostor syndrome around Tom, because he was pretty much better at everything. He was smart as anyone I've ever met, with an incredible combination of physical insight, intuition and intellectual curiosity. He was fantastic at identifying interesting questions and promising research directions, and his work had a tremendous impact in every area he touched. At the same time, Tom was the nicest person and incredibly modest. Even when he was explaining something that, to him, must have seemed trivial, he never made you feel stupid. Because of this -- and because he was such a clear and logical thinker -- he was also a great teacher. I still can't quite believe Tom won't be around anymore to collaborate with and just talk to. I really miss him. From Christian Knigge, University of Southampton

I’ll always remember and treasure the hour each week during my undergraduate days long ago at Queens’ College, Cambridge when Tom, as a post-graduate, supervised me as a young Natural Sciences / Physics student. In each session, we’d delve into the complexities of core physics theory and phenomena, exploring questions which Tom had assigned to further develop our knowledge and skills. He was truly a role model to look up to, not only managing to bring clarity and structure to the complexity of new physics concepts in a way only few could, but doing so in a respectful and patient manner. Tom set expectations on the one hand while nurturing, coaching and imparting his own boundless enthusiasm for the subject on the other hand. Even then, he stood out as an outstanding scientist and person. I’ve always felt privileged to have had the benefit of Tom’s teaching and wisdom. It is with great sadness that I’ve recently learned of the tragic news from Chile. My deepest condolences to his family and friends. From David Hendicott, Former undergraduate, Queens' College, Cambridge University

When the news came that Tom was missing from La Silla, I was frightened and tried to follow the media hoping for good news, but finally this did not happen. Whatever may have happened, it is a terrible tragedy. It was just a few weeks ago that I talked to him at the Tübingen White Dwarf meeting. We started to collaborate on hot subdwarf stars and white dwarfs 20 years ago. With Pierre Maxted, Tom started a survey to find binary subdwarfs and asked me to join. This turned out to be a very successful project, which is still running, The SPY survey for binary white dwarfs then followed and it was Tom who pushed and helped us all the way to finally publish the results in 2020. Tom will sorely be missed. I send my deepest condolences to his family. From Uli Heber, Dr. Remeis-Sternwarte & ECAP, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

I met Tom when I was a PhD student. He was interested in some of the work I had done on double white dwarfs. This was the start of almost 25 years in which we interacted and did many joint research projects. During this period, I have become a great fan of Tom. He also kept surprising me with his abilities. As we all know, his outstanding capabilities in many fields did not in any way make him arrogant. Quite the opposite, although I guess you could better not have Tom against you in any matter. I think he could very much stand his ground. For someone who is not keen on status and management, I was again surprised by how long and how successful he was department head! Tom was an astronomical observer and he did great things. But the really impressive aspect is that he also understood the physics of the objects he was studying in full detail, sometimes even better than his theoretical colleagues. One of the highlights of our work together was done when Tom was visiting me in Cambridge where I was a post-doc at the time. We did a great research project together (well Tom did most of the work of course) and also had a great time. Tom stayed, grudgingly I would almost say, at a room in his old college of all places. Tom could sometimes be a little bit out of the world. I vividly remember a (15 min) talk Tom would give in Naples about the work we did on his visit to Cambridge. I was in the audience and when Tom after 10 minutes had not even completed the introduction of the talk I was getting seriously worried. He obviously got in serious timing trouble and had to rush through the rest of the talk. He later complained that he had gotten so used to teaching university students that he hadn't adapted his pace to the expert audience at a scientific conference. I can safely say that Tom has been one of the most important people in my working life, and definitely one of the nicest ones. I'm sure there must be literally hundreds of people who have been helped in a friendly way by Tom in some way. As non-native English speaker, it was sometime hard to understand Tom's mumbling, but what he said was always worth listening to. I don't quite know anybody like Tom in all his different aspects. Our field will never be the same without Tom and I will miss him very much. We will miss him, but I can only imagine how if must be for his family, and I wish them strength to cope with this loss. From Gijs Nelemans, Radboud University

I am deeply shocked and cannot believe the news I searched the web throughout last night, about the passing of Professor Tom Marsh at La Silla Observatory. I met Tom with luck back in 2020, virtually through a zoom interview in which I seek to work with Tom under his supervision. I was ranked second during that interview which he encouraged me and therefore was later fortunate to have interchanged a few emails with Tom. I was touched by his warm heart and impressed by his constructed suggestions and wisdom. His research papers present exciting discoveries, great results, and most friendly presentations even for non-native English speakers like me. When I presented to Tom my recent paper on a candidate neutron star / massive white dwarf, he pointed out key missing observation data needed to identify the nature of the candidate and shared his latest paper (which the first author is Kevin Burdge) immediately. I can feel the passion for science and the excitement of discoveries coming out from the heart of a 60-year-old gentleman. I remember that I have wrongly addressed him as Professor Thomas in emails. When I explained to Tom that was because of respect and my impression of Sir Thomas More (great British politician, philosopher, and writer), he insisted on simply addressing him as Tom. He wrote in the postscript: "Yes it would indeed be "Sir Thomas" but "Prof More" had he been a professor!" P.S. I share deep condolences with Tom's family, friends, and colleagues. I know that he is now a star smiling and shining upon us. From Yi Tuan, Xiamen University

I had the pleasure of studying with Tom for my masters project. He was a great mentor, and I will always remember how well he explained things to us and how kind he was. His lecture series on General Relativity was probably the highlight of my undergraduate learnings. I then went on to study at the Warwick Astrophysics group for a PhD and subsequent post-doctoral position where Tom was an inspiring head of group. Lunchtime conversations were always more interesting when he was involved. I have fond memories of listening in seminars where the topic may have been over my head, but Tom would be listening intently, usually asking such insightful questions that were well beyond my grasp, and possibly beyond the grasp of the speaker sometimes! I will always remember what fleeting time we had together, and I am extremely saddened by his loss. RIP Tom Marsh. From Simon Walker, previously a student in the Warwick Astronomy group

The Royal Astronomical Society is saddened to learn of the tragic death of Professor Tom Marsh. The Society recognised his outstanding contributions to astronomy with the award of its Herschel medal in 2018. We would like to offer our sincere condolences to Professor Marsh's family, friends and colleagues. He will be missed by very many of us who had the privilege of working with him. ​ From Philip Diamond, Royal Astronomical Society

Tom was an outstanding scientist, with many excellent achievements to his name, and we were delighted when we were able to attract him to Southampton. Although we were proud when he was appointed to lead a new group at Warwick, it was a blow for us, but nothing compared to his recent loss. Besides his scientific brilliance, Tom was also very helpful, always with a cheerful reply. Just before he passed he made very valuable science contributions to a joint HiPERCAM-based paper and also gave, with very good grace, much help regarding his analysis pipeline. Tom had knowledge in many other areas, and I recently benefitted from a very large crop of the first season of some autumn-fruiting raspberries which Tom had advised planting, as weather conditions are wetter and better in the south for autumn varieties. They will remain a fond reminder of him. He will be greatly missed. From Ian McHardy, Southampton University.