First Name
Middle Name
Last Name
Professor Harvey Richer passed away in November 2023.
Office Room
Tel (Office)
Research Groups

Students Wanted

Bachelor's Degree
McGill, Physics and Mathematics

Master's Degree
University of Rochester, Physics and Astronomy

Doctoral Degree
University of Rochester, Physics and Astronomy

Employment History

UBC 1970-date,
Uppsala (Sweden) 1977, CFHT (Hawaii) 1984, Cambridge (UK) 1991, Rome Observatory (Italy) 1998, UCLA (California) 2005, STScI (Baltimore) 2010


Fellow Royal Society Canada 2014,
Carlyle S. Beals Award (CASCA) 2014,
Distinguished Peter Wall University Professor 2010,
Canada-US Fulbright Fellowship 2005,
Canada Council for the Arts Killam Fellowship 2001-03,
Gemini Scientist for Canada 2000-03,
UBC Killam 1991

Committees and Service

Department: Associate Head for Faculty Development,
Community: CFHT Board of Directors 2006-2013, Chair 2008-2009


Additional Information

BirthPlace: Montreal

Research Area
Astronomy & Astrophysics

Research Field
Stellar astrophysics

Research Topics
Stellar populations, star clusters, white dwarf stars, dynamics

Research Title
Using white dwarfs to explore for novel physics


My area of research is stellar astronomy and I am interested in what resolved systems of stars can tell us about dark matter, the age of the oldest stars, the dynamical evolution of stellar systems, fundamental physics and the formation of galaxies. To investigate these diverse subjects I observe a wide range of objects including nearby stars, open and globular star clusters and the resolved components of our neighbouring galaxies. To accomplish my research goals I use a variety of telescopes particularly the twin Gemini Telescopes, the Canada France Hawaii Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope. An intensive area of current interest is a search for the oldest white dwarfs. In the right environments, extremely cool white dwarfs can be used to check on the chronology of stellar systems and provide age estimates largely independent of the usual assumptions of stellar evolution theory. Ages of stellar systems using white dwarfs are currently being derived for open clusters, the Galactic halo and globular star clusters. The eventual aim is that these ages will confront ages derived from stellar evolution and from the expansion of the Universe and lead to new insights into cosmology.