Passing of Prof. Carolina Ödman

It’s with deep sadness that we inform our community of the death of our beloved colleague and friend, Prof. Carolina Odman, on 15 November 2022 after a brave and extended battle with cancer. Carolina was co-chair of the NOC Outreach, Communication and Education committee until earlier this year, but her influence in our work ranged beyond this and covered both practical issues and principles that guide our work.

Carolina was passionate in her outreach and development work, and was recognised for her contributions through the International Astronomical Union’s Special Prize in 2018, and South Africa’s NSTF Communication Award in 2021. She was also a member of Inspiring Fifty, a recognition of her excellence in the tech and STEM sector. Her work on making astronomy accessible across the African continent demonstrated her love and commitment to the belief that ‘It’s time for Africa”.

Her optimism was infectious, and she always had words of encouragement for those just embarking on their careers. Our team will miss her inspirational ideas and dazzling smile, and our thoughts are with her family at this difficult time.

Niruj Mohan, Carolina’s friend and our colleague on the GA2024 NOC, is coordinating this initiative:

Our dear friend Carolina Ödman passed away in the early hours of 15 November in the hospital in Cape Town. She fought against cancer with her usual courage, optimism, and a smile, till the very end. She was many things to each of us. She was a partner and a mother to Kevin, Xavier and Cyprian. A beloved family member. A dear friend and colleague. A mentor and an inspiration. A ray of sunshine in all our lives. If you would like to send a message of condolence, please send it to

Carolina was truly a renaissance person who was immensely talented at so many things: painting, writing, photography, playing the harp, dancing, consummate skill in languages, public speaking, and dreaming up ideas on a scale that only she could. She was equally at ease in the worlds of science, art, and the humanities.

Most of us are familiar with some facet of Carolina’s talents, but all of us have experienced her warmth, her kindness, and her extremely contagious joy for life, of sunsets, of the trees and forests, of birds and animals, of science and technology. It was her fervent desire, which she emphasised during her last days, that her sons Xavier and Cyprian continue to be aware of this as well. To honour her wish, we invite you to record your memories and experiences of her in any form that you are comfortable with, addressed to her children. This could be in the form of a short video of you talking, a piece of writing, a set of photographs, etc. If you would like to do something of this nature, please take your time and send your contributions to

At this time of our collective grief, when we try to come to terms with Carolina’s passing, we hope that this initiative will help bring us all some peace.