Dave Lane standing at a podium


The Burke-Gaffney Observatory would not be what it is today without the work of one individual - Dr. David J. Lane. He was awarded Doctor of Science, honoris causa by Saint Mary's University in January 2024. 

(the information below is reproduced from Dr. David Lane's SMU honorary degree information)

Tens of thousands of Saint Mary’s University students and members of the public have experienced the wonders of the night sky at the Burke-Gaffney Observatory due to the efforts of one man, David Lane, who, for nearly thirty years, has been quietly inspiring generations of children, parents, students, and teachers.

From 1992 until his retirement, Mr. Lane was employed as the Astronomy Technician and System Administrator in the Astronomy and Physics Department. Later, as Director of the Burke-Gaffney Observatory, David single-handedly automated the Observatory and made it available to the world through Twitter and Facebook. He has made significant contributions to teaching and learning at Saint Mary’s and created The Earth Centered Universe (ECU), an easy-to-use planetarium and telescope-control program, allowing institutes the ability to operate their own educational astronomy platforms for teaching astronomy.

He has also made many impressive contributions to professional astronomy, with more than 100 professional publications in the field of variable stars and telescope operations. He has been a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) since the 1980s and served as president of the National Chapter and the Halifax Chapter. He was recognized by the International Astronomy Union for the co-discovery of three supernovae and has an asteroid named after him!

David Lane received a Doctor of Science, honoris causa, on January 27, 2024.