Wayman, Patrick Arthur (1927–98), astronomer, was born 8 October 1927 in Bromley, Kent, England, one of twin boys and an elder son of Lt-col. Lewis John Wayman and Mary Wayman (née Palmer). Educated at the City of London School (1937–45) and Emmanuel College, Cambridge (1945–8), he graduated in mathematics and physics (1948). He then proceeded to work for a Ph.D. at Cambridge University, where his research on the geometrical optics of various telescopes led to a thesis, ‘Applications of aspheric optics to astronomy’ (1952). This interest in astronomical instruments remained with him all his life. During his researches he spent two years (1950–52) in the USA at the Warner and Swasey observatories in Cleveland and at Yerkes observatory, Wisconsin. He returned to the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO) at Herstmonceux, Sussex (1952), where he soon became head of the solar department (1955). In 1957 he went to South Africa with his wife and young son and spent time at the Cape observatory and the Radcliffe observatory, Pretoria. Three years later he returned to the meridian department at RGO, and was later appointed head of that department and principal scientific officer (1963). The following year he was appointed senior professor of the school of cosmic physics, Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies (DIAS), and resident director of Dunsink observatory, where he remained till his retirement three decades later in 1992. In 1967 he was also appointed director of the school of cosmic physics, DIAS.
During his time at Dunsink, he made a considerable contribution to Irish and international astronomy. According to Tao Kiang, a colleague at Dunsink, he ‘changed the face of astronomy in Ireland’ (Ir. Times, 9 Jan. 1999). At Dunsink the facilities were expanded and adapted, particularly for the supporting technologies, computing and electronics. He strengthened the observatory's overseas involvement with the facilities at the Boyden observatory, South Africa, particularly the Armagh–Dunsink–Harvard (ADH) telescope, which had been installed in 1952. However, this arrangement discontinued in the mid 1970s, due to political pressure. Later he negotiated Irish participation in the new International Observatory built on La Palma, Canary Islands.
His scientific interests were wide and included instrumentation and advanced imaging cameras, as well as theoretical studies of galactic and solar system dynamics. His strong interest in the history of astronomy resulted in the restoration of the dome shutters (1985), the South telescope (1987), and the 12 in. (30 cm) Grubb refractor (1988), as well as his publication Dunsink observatory, 1785–1985 – a bicentennial history (1987).
An effective organiser of research, he forged links with Irish universities and initiated the Astronomical Science Group of Ireland (1974). He was an active member of the International Astronomical Union, where as general secretary (1979–82) his skills in negotiation led to the return of the mainland Chinese astronomers to the IAU after twenty years of non-participation. China had resigned in 1959 when Taiwan had refused to accept a single Chinese body represented by Beijing. A compromise was agreed, whereby a dual body was set up, one section in Taiwan and one in mainland China. Under his supervision a permanent secretariat of the IAU was set up in Paris.
He received several honours during his lifetime: MRIA (1966), council member (1975–8), chairman of committees for astronomy and for the history and philosophy of science and vice-president (1978–9); associate of the Royal Astronomical Society (1982); honorary Andrews professor, TCD (1984); and honorary D.Sc. (NUI, 1993). Outside his scientific interests he liked the countryside, music, good food, and wine, and had interests in photography and architecture. After his retirement (1992) he moved to Wicklow town, where he kept up contact with the observatory. He continued his interest in astronomical history by writing a biography of Thomas (qv) and Howard Grubb (qv), which was almost completed before his death on 21 December 1998 in Dublin. The manuscript awaits final publication.
He married (19 June 1954) Mavis McIntyre Smith Gibson, daughter of Lt.-col T. S. Gibson and Janet Gibson. She was working in the Nautical Almanac Office, part of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, at the time. They had two sons and a daughter, Sheila, who worked as features editor of the Irish Times.