Professor Bob Carpenter – Obituary

Bob Carpenter, Honorary Professor of Medical Statistics and a much loved colleague and teacher, sadly passed away last week while holidaying with friends.

Professor Carpenter is renowed as a world authority on the causes of sudden infant death, and throughout a long and fruitful career, undertook several pivotal studies that directly led to prevention policies. InRobert Carpenter 1999, he was awarded a special Distinguished Researcher Award by the International Society for the Study and Prevention of Perinatal and Infant Death. The citation noted: “There is… one man [Professor Carpenter] whose constant background work has largely been responsible for what progress has been made in the reduction of the number of child deaths.”

Joining the School in 1971, Professor Carpenter also contributed greatly to our education programme, particularly the development of the MSc Medical Statistics course, which he helped establish and grow from its inception. Although he officially retired in 1996, he remained scientifically very active and in close contact with colleagues. Over the past 20 years as an honorary member of staff, he has continued to publish important work which has made headlines and shaped policy.

Bob was greatly respected and loved by colleagues and students alike for his immense generosity of spirit. According to his son Professor James Carpenter, who has a joint appointment with our Department of Medical Statistics and the UCL Institute of Clinical Trials and Methodology, Bob’s strong Christian faith was the cornerstone of his life and work, and has been a comfort to his family in coming to terms with his sudden death. He will be much missed, and our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with his family and many friends.

Bob was also honoured in the Guardian by his sons James, Peter and David.

Photo credit: ALAMY/London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine


  1. sara phillips

    A very generous gentleman, who helped me enormously in my paediatric studies and research. A great loss to his community.

  2. Kelly Seo

    My warmest condolences.