Volume 22 - Article 18 | Pages 539–548

Arthur Roger Thatcher's contributions to longevity research: A Reflexion

By Jean-Marie Robine, Siu Lan Karen Cheung, Shiro Horiuchi

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Date received:09 Mar 2010
Date published:30 Mar 2010
Word count:1982
Keywords:centenarians, compression of mortality, Kannisto-Thatcher Database on Old Age Mortality (KTD), longevity, old age mortality, supercentenarians
Additional files:1 Roger Thatcher in 2004 (jpg file, 936 kB)
 2 Roger with his family his wife Betty and daughters Sue and Jill in 2000 (jpg file, 196 kB)
 3 Roger and JM Robine at the first meeting of the M-Project in London in 2005 (jpg file, 558 kB)
 4 Roger with SL Cheung at lunch after the last M-Project meeting in London in 2008 (jpg file, 3 MB)


Arthur Roger Thatcher, CB, died in London on February 13, 2010, at 83 years of age. He was actively engaged in demographic research until his death. One of his last papers, The Compression of Deaths above the Mode, is published in this volume of Demographic Research (Thatcher et al., 2010). Roger signed the copyright agreement for the paper on January 24, just a few weeks before his death. Another contribution will appear in a forthcoming monograph entitled Supercentenarians (Maier et al., 2010). In this note, we, the co-authors of his Demographic Research paper, will briefly review his remarkable research accomplishments.
Roger Thatcher was born in Birmingham in 1926. He worked for 26 years as a statistician in several national government offices. Later, he served as Registrar General for England and Wales, and was Director of the Office of Population Censuses and Survey (OPCS) from 1978 to 1986. A short description of his professional career up to his retirement can be found in Population Trends (1986).
He had a long-standing affinity for the history of actuarial sciences and statistics in England, taking particular interest in the early years of the Statistical Society of London, and helping to compile extracts from its 1830s Proceedings (see Boreham et al., 1988 and Rosenbaum, 2001). He published a historical abstract (1970) of British labour-force statistics back to 1886. Thatcher was also a scientist with broad interests, publishing papers in a wide range of fields, such as archaeology, mathematics (number theory), and cosmology (1972, 1973 and 1982).

Author's Affiliation

Jean-Marie Robine - Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), France [Email]
Siu Lan Karen Cheung - University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong [Email]
Shiro Horiuchi - City University of New York, United States of America [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» The question of the human mortality plateau: Contrasting insights by longevity pioneers
Volume 48 - Article 11

» The mystery of Japan's missing centenarians explained
Volume 26 - Article 11

» Occupational inequalities in health expectancies in France in the early 2000s: Unequal chances of reaching and living retirement in good health
Volume 25 - Article 12

» The compression of deaths above the mode
Volume 22 - Article 17

» Dissecting the compression of mortality in Switzerland, 1876-2005
Volume 21 - Article 19

» Tempo effect on age-specific death rates
Volume 13 - Article 8

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