Tributes have been paid to a Dumbarton-born ‘world-class’ scientist who recently died.

Professor John Brown, the 10th Astronomer Royal for Scotland, passed away on November 16, aged 72.

The former Dumbarton Academy pupil was a renowned world-class scientist, whose main research interests were theoretical astrophysics, particularly relating to solar and cosmic plasmas and particle beams.

He was also a key figure in Nasa’s 2002 Rhessi mission, which explored the physics of particle acceleration.

The spark which inspired the future direction of Prof Brown’s life was reading a science fiction story at the age of eight, which he believed was by astronomer Sir Patrick Moore.

Prof Brown previously revealed in 2010, that aged just 10, he built his own telescope from an old spectacle lens and a magnifying glass taped on opposite ends of two cardboard tubes - which he pointed it towards the Moon and began his love of space and astronomy.

He told The Scotsman newspaper: “The first thing I saw through that telescope were the craters of the Moon. I was amazed by what I was seeing and the sense of wonder has never left me. If anything it’s got stronger. I still get the same thrill as when I was a wee boy. There had been talk of rockets going into space and I wanted to be part of that world.”

By that point, Prof Brown was hooked, and he later started the astronomy club at Dumbarton Academy when he was 16.

Prof Brown attended the University of Glasgow and while an undergraduate he was offered a combined doctorate and teaching post.

After years of research and overseas fellowships he was appointed professor of astrophysics in 1984, at the age of 37.

Prof Brown received a host of honours throughout his career, including being appointed Astronomer Royal for Scotland in February 1995.

Other honours include being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1984, the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2012.

In 2016 he was awarded an OBE for services to the promotion of astronomy education.

Robert Massey, deputy director of the Royal Astronomical Society, who worked with Prof Brown at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said: “He was a larger than life character, a force for good. He was always happy to ask the tough questions at meetings and challenge ‘received wisdom’. He wasn’t someone who was afraid to speak his mind, but was always courteous if you didn’t agree.”

Prof Brown’s friend, Rab Wilson, added: “One of the great joys of my life was to have met John Brown and to have worked with him.”

Prof Brown died suddenly at his home, on Skye, on November 16.

He was aged 72.