Trevor J. Pinch, age 69, passed away peacefully on December 16th, 2021, surrounded by family and friends, after living with cancer for more than four years. He was born January 1st, 1952 in Northern Ireland and grew up in Rackheath, a small village outside of Norwich, England. His parents, Joan Elizabeth Pinch and Owain Fey Trevor Pinch, were teachers. In his early days, Trevor discovered his love of the outdoors through sailing on the Norfolk Broads, his time in the Boy Scouts, and playing in the countryside with his sister, Alison.
Trevor always excelled at school and eventually went to Imperial College London where he got his BA in Physics in 1973. He then went on to do a M.Sc. in liberal studies of science from the University of Manchester in 1976 and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Bath in 1982. After his first academic positions at the University of Bath, he became a lecturer at the University of York, which is where he met his wife-to-be, Christine.
In 1990, Trevor relocated to Ithaca, NY for a professorship at Cornell University in science and technology studies, a field which he helped found. He proceeded to have a very successful academic career, and published numerous books and academic articles and is well known for his seminal contributions to both the social construction of technology as well as sound studies. In 2018, he was awarded the Bernal Prize, for his lifetime contributions to the field of science and technology studies.
Aside from his academic research at Cornell, Trevor was a dedicated teacher and mentor of many students. Even this past semester, when his cancer returned aggressively, Trevor insisted he keep teaching since it brought him so much joy and satisfaction. He brought a relaxed and humorous atmosphere to the classes he taught, inspiring students with his passion and always encouraging them to stay true to their interests.
Trevor’s interest in sound studies stems from his particular fascination with the Moog synthesizer, which he wrote about with Frank Trocco in one of his most well-known books, ‘Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog synthesizer’. Trevor was a musician himself, and built his own synthesizers, which he played in multiple bands, including the Electric Golem and the Atomic Forces.
Trevor loved Ithaca and became a loyal farmers market goer, a Gimme! Coffee regular, and enjoyed swimming in Cayuga lake with his family and going on nature walks. At his core, Trevor was a hippie and his appearance reflected that - with wild curly hair, bright patterned shirts, and even a pair of flamingo running shoes. Despite living in America for 21 years, he remained a true-Brit at heart – he loved British comedy, a well-made cup of tea, and most importantly, he was an unwavering supporter of his home Football club (or Footy as he called it), Norwich City (Go Canaries!).
The emptiness we all feel without Trevor is a testament to his enormous presence. He was a force of nature, unforgettable, and one-of-a-kind. Trevor had the ability to befriend and connect with anyone, which was not hard given his vast knowledge of many subjects. He could lighten up any moment, bringing humor, kindness, and a bit of needed eccentricity. He will be dearly missed.
Trevor is survived by his wife, Christine Leuenberger, his two daughters, Annika and Benika Pinch, his sister, Alison Vickers, and his niece, Melanie Jenner.
A celebration of life will be held at Forest Home Chapel. In-person attendance is by invitation-only but please reach out to the family if you would like the livestream link.
For anyone who would like to make a contribution in Trevor’s memory, please visit this link: https://gofund.me/aa67865a
These donations will go towards an annual lectureship at Cornell in Trevor’s honor, the Ithaca Farmer’s Market, as well as a bench in his name.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Trevor J. Pinch, please visit our floral store.