Vale Peter Fensham (1927 – 2021)

It is with great sadness that I write to share the news that our dear friend and generous colleague Peter Fensham has passed away. At this stage, we do not have any further details to share, but we will do so as they become available. 

As the founder of ASERA, Peter was instrumental in creating and sustaining the association as a rich and collegial space to share research, foster connections, and assist many of us to establish our careers. Below is an article about Peter written by Dick Gunstone for a Special Issue of Cultural Studies of Science Education that shares so many wonderful memories of Peter and his work. He will be so dearly missed by us all.

Peter Fensham—head, heart and hands (on) in the service of science education and social equity and justice.

6 thoughts on “Vale Peter Fensham (1927 – 2021)”

  1. Sad news for us all. A pillar of our community and an amazing man we will miss so much. We have always advanced in understanding through knowing Peter, and benefitted from his passion for our community. His New Zealand colleagues will all send love and support to Peter’s family and colleagues.

  2. It is hard to imagine where the field of science education research in Australia would be today without Peter’s foresight, energy, creativity, guidance and influence. Peter set a high standard of scholarship that brought Australian science education research to the forefront very early in the development of science education as an international research endeavour. Attendance to issues of equity were also a central part of Peter’s life and work.

    Peter has been an inspiration to many ASERA members.

    Like many colleagues, I have valued and appreciated Peter’s mentoring, friendship and care over more than four decades.

    Peter – We miss you – Rest in Peace!
    David Treagust

  3. Peter was a friend and colleague to so many in so many campaigns over many years to improve the quality and reach of science education. A great man and an emblematic figure to each of us. Our deep appreciation and sympathy to his family.

  4. I’m truly sad. Peter was a wise generous lovely person who made really significant contributions to Science Education. I have so many fond memories of conversations we had in many conferences in Slovenia, Brazil, Spain, Sweden… I’m grateful to have met him and benefited from his scholarship and insightful comments. He will be much missed. Love to family and friends from Isabel Martins, Brazil.

  5. As an undergraduate student in Melbourne I had the benefit of Peter’s Chemistry I lectures in 1960; when I returned to Australia as a freshly minted Ph.D. in the early 1970s ‘his’ ASERA provided stimulating collegiality; when I moved to London I missed the personal contact, but valued his writing and advocacy for a field which he did so much to stimulate nationally and reinvigorate internationally. I knew I could never match his intellectual breadth and insights, but then that is what a role model should be: showing what is possible even if we can’t all always reach those heights. In reflecting on the 60 years I have known him, what keeps coming to the front of my mind even more than his professional gifts and achievements are the ways in which his sense of social justice, equity, and compassion manifested themselves, in public and in private.

  6. Peter was always welcome as a friend and scholar whenever he came to Leeds. His incisive mind, support of those making their career in science education and ready companionship ensures that his passing will be mourned in many parts of the world. He was a valuable and early member of the Editorial Board of Studies in Science Education and as editor I was fortunate to be able to call upon his expertise and wisdom.

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