Dr. Harold Zirin, an emeritus professor of astrophysics at the California Institute of Technology, died on January 3, 2012, in Pasadena after a long battle with debilitating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). His passion for solar astronomy led his undergraduate students in the 1970s to produce a comic book of him as an unassuming professor who became the super-hero “Captain Corona” whenever he stepped into a solar observatory.
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Hilmar W. Duerbeck died on Thursday the 5th of January 2012
Irving Werner Lindenblad, graduate of Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT), Astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory, 1957-1989, died 11 November 2011. He was 82.
Dr. Franklin E. Kameny died October 11, 2011, at the age of 86 of cardiac arrest. Kameny observed RV Tau stars and yellow semiregular variables from 1952 to1954, and his photoelectric measurements served as the basis of his Harvard Ph.D. thesis. After receiving his Ph.D. in 1956, Kameny taught astronomy for a year at Georgetown University. A US Army veteran during World War II, he was hired as an astronomer by the US Army Mapping Service in 1957. His astronomical career was terminated when he was fired from this position due to the discovery of his sexual orientation.
Dr. Weidong Li, an Associate Research Astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley, died tragically in Benicia, CA, on December 12, 2011. He was 42 years old, and a world-renowned expert on supernovae.
Howard B. Anderson passed away Saturday, May 15, 2010, in Hancock, MI, at the age of 95. Of Swedish ancestry, he was born December 13, 1914, in Escanaba, MI, a son of Oscar and Edla Anderson. He later moved to Bark River and to Iron Mountain, MI, where he graduated from High School. As a youth he was interested in all things scientific and electronic and he made a hobby out of building radios.
Patrick Lee Nolan died at his home in Palo Alto, California, on November 6, 2011, from complications related to a brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme, which had been diagnosed less than five months earlier. He was born in Colusa, California, on November 18, 1952. Pat was the only child of John Henry Nolan and Carol Lee Harris Nolan. For most of his childhood they lived in Grass Valley, California, where his father was a butcher and his mother was a surgical nurse. Pat graduated from the California Institute of Technology in 1974 with a B.S. in Physics and completed a Ph.D.
An expert on stellar physics, the president of IAU commission on stellar spectra (1982-85) and an associate editor of the Publications of Astronomical Society of Japan (PASJ) for 24 years who made it to be one of the top-level journals of astronomy.
Bill Smyth passed away on September 30, 2011, as a result of complications from a respiratory infection after a 6-week battle waged in Wake Forest hospital in Salem, North Carolina. His pioneering work on planetary exospheres and atmospheres contributed significantly to the understanding of the smaller bodies in the solar system and their interactions with the surrounding charged particle and electric and magnetic fields environment.
Professor Adriaan Blaauw, one of the most influential astronomers of the twentieth century, passed away on 1 December 2010.
Stellar astrophysicist William Kenneth Rose died near his home in Potomac, Maryland, on September 30, 2010, after an extended illness. Rose was the son of pharmacist Kenneth William Rose and Shirley Near Rose and was born in Ossining, New York, on August 10, 1935. He received an AB from Columbia College in 1957 and a PhD in physics from Columbia University in 1963, with a thesis on “measurements of linear polarization in discrete radio sources using a 9.4 cm maser,” under the direction of Charles H. Townes.