A tribute to Eric Tanenbaum

Article dated: 12 June 2011

We are sad to note the passing of Eric Tanenbaum, a leading light who played a pivotal role in developing the UK Data Archive, serving twice as Acting Director and as Deputy Director in the 1980s. Eric Tanenbaum

Born and educated in Canada, Eric joined the Department of Government at the University of Essex in 1974. While at the Archive, Eric was concerned with the release of government data and played an important role in negotiating access to government statistical data. He succeeded in laying the foundations for what has become a strong working relationship with the Office for National Statistics.

Returning to the Department of Government in the 1990s, Eric took over the Directorship of the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis and continued in this role until 2007.

Eric's commitment to students was complete and inexhaustible. In addition to teaching a specialist course in Political Psychology, Eric was responsible for the core data analysis courses that the Department requires of all its students. Throughout, he was unfailing in his support of the Archive and in promoting its value to students at every opportunity.

His strong Jewish faith informed both his life and his strongly ironic sense of humour. When he was diagnosed in 2007 with the crippling illness that led to his premature death, his first comment to his friends was "we were hoping it was Parkinson’s". Eric's smile could light up a room.

He will be missed.