John R. Percy (BSc Math and Physics 1962, MA Astronomy 1963, PhD Astronomy 1968, all University of Toronto) is a very active Professor Emeritus, Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Science Education, at the University of Toronto. He was a founding faculty member of the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM) and taught Astronomy, and Science Education there from 1967 to 2007. His astronomy research interests include variable stars and stellar evolution; he has published over 250 research papers in these fields, and authored the book "Understanding Variable Stars" (Cambridge, 2007).
He has also been active in science education (especially astronomy) at all levels, throughout the world. He has edited or co-edited the proceedings of five major international conferences on this topic. His education interests and experiences include: teaching development at the university level; development of astronomy/space curriculum for Ontario schools; development of resources for educators; pre-service and in-service teacher education; lifelong learning; public science literacy; the roles of science centres and planetariums; the role of skilled amateurs in research and education ("citizen science"); high school and undergraduate student research projects; international astronomy education and development; and multicultural astronomy.
He has served as president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, the Royal Canadian Institute, the American Association of Variable Star Observers, the International Astronomical Union Commissions on Variable Stars, and on Astronomical Education, and of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. He has served as Honorary President of the Science Teachers' Association of Ontario, and as Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Ontario Science Centre. Among his many awards, he was the recipient of the Royal Canadian Institute's Sandford Fleming Medal, for contributions to public awareness and appreciation of science and technology, the U of T School of Continuing Studies' Citation for Exceptional Commitment and Achievement in Adult Learning, and the Distinguished Educator Award of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. In 1999, he received the Jack Bell Award from the Science Teachers' Association of Ontario "for outstanding and continued contributions to science education in Ontario", and he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2003, he received the University of Toronto's Northrop Frye Award, for exemplary linkage of teaching and research. Then in 2006, he was an inaugural recipient of the University of Toronto President's Teaching Award.
Though technically "retired" in 2007, he continues his research, education, and outreach activities. He was one of the organizers of International Year of Astronomy 2009 in Canada. He gives numerous public talks, and courses for later-life learners at the University of Toronto, York University, and Ryerson University, and elsewhere. In 2012, he was the first recipient of the Canadian Astronomical Society's Qilak Award, for excellence in communication of astronomy to the Canadian public. In 2013, he received the Education Prize of the American Astronomical Society, and was appointed Honorary President of the RASC. In 2015, he was elected a Fellow of the RASC.
Outside astronomy, his interests are in music (especially Baroque), theatre, heritage, nature, and his wife Maire and their daughter Carol.