Jan van Paradijs, who died in Amsterdam on November 2, 1999, was one of the world's foremost high-energy astrophysicists. He will probably be best remembered for the discovery, on February 28, 1997, of the first optical afterglow of a cosmic gamma ray burst (GRB), which established the distant, extragalactic nature of these events and solved what had, for some 30 years, been a major problem in astrophysics.
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Gijsbert van Herk, Dutch astronomer long associated with Leiden Observatory and a dedicated astrometrist, was born in Breda, in the southern part of The Netherlands, on October 14, 1907. He studied astronomy first at the University of Amsterdam, earning the Doctoraal Diploma (Master's degree) in 1930. His Master's thesis concerned photometry of the Magellanic Clouds. At Amsterdam, van Herk was deeply influenced by A.
Hendrik "Henk" C. van de Hulst, an honorary member of the AAS, died in Leiden on July 31, 2000, at the age of 81. He was one of the greatest Dutch astronomers of the past 150 years. In 1944 he had predicted that the amount of neutral atomic hydrogen in interstellar space would be so great as to produce a measurable signal at the radio wavelength of 21-centimeters. This prediction led to a breakthrough in astronomical research. Henk van de Hulst was born in Utrecht, The Netherlands, on November 19, 1918. He was one of six children born to W. G.
"Hank" Spreitzer was born and educated in, and remained a lifelong resident of, Cleveland, Ohio. He was affiliated with several astronomical institutions in that city and was a long-term member of the American Astronomical Society. After graduating from Maple Heights High School in 1932, Spreitzer served for several years with the Civilian Conservation Corps in the state parks of Colorado and Kentucky before joining the Warner and Swasey Company of Cleveland in 1936 as an elevator operator.
The Ohio State University Department of Astronomy is sad to announce the death of Professor Emeritus Arne Slettebak on May 20th, 1999, following a short illness. Arne was born of Norwegian parents in Freistadt Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland) on August 8th, 1925, and emigrated to the United States with his family in 1927, becoming a US citizen in 1932. He graduated with a BS in physics from the University of Chicago in 1945 and received a PhD in 1949, with a thesis on rotational velocities of O and B stars guided by W.W. Morgan.
Carol Jane Anger Rieke was born on January 17, 1908. She pursued classical studies at Northwestern University, changing her major after a fateful decision to take astronomy to satisfy a breadth requirement. Inquiries to astronomy graduate schools on her behalf were met with stem admonitions against women students—with the exception, of course, of Harlow Shapley at Harvard. In 1928, Anger started down the same trail that had been blazed by Cecelia Payne only four years earlier; to obtain a PhD in astronomy from Radcliffe College.
Kandarpa Narahari Rao, a member of the AAS since 1949, died in Madisonville, Kentucky on May 5, 2000. He was a long-time molecular spectroscopist and professor of physics at Ohio State University.
John Aloysius O'Keefe, one of the pioneers of the Space Age and the man famed planetary scientist Eugene Shoemaker called "the godfather of astrogeology," died on September 8, 2000, from complications due to liver cancer. O'Keefe was 83.
Oscar Monnig was born on 4 September 1902 in Fort Worth, Texas, where he lived his entire life. His father and an uncle were co-founders of Monnig's department stores there. In 1925 the young Monnig earned an LLB at the University of Texas. He practiced law in Fort Worth for a few years before joining the family business in 1928. He held a number of positions in the business and was president from 1974 to 1981, when the firm was sold.
Freeman Devold Miller of the University of Michigan's Department of Astronomy died January 10, 2000, at the age of 91. A recognized authority on comets, Miller had been at the University of Michigan since 1946. Always active, he came to his office in the astronomy department daily after his 1977 retirement, and published his last refereed paper, on Comet Bennett, in 1992. Illness finally got in the way of continuing his work in 1998.
On 10 December 1998, William Mesrobian passed away at the age of 55 in Framington, Massachusetts. Born in Syracuse, New York he received his undergraduate degree from Syracuse University and a master's degree in astronomy from Wesleyan University, with a thesis entitled "A Study of the Astrometric Binary System Ross 614AB." This and most of his other publications, including eight lists of stellar parallaxes, appeared in the Astronomical Journal.
Harrison Shepler Mendenhall, emeritus professor of mathematics at Oklahoma State University, died Monday, March 20, 2000, in Stillwater, Oklahoma, at the age of 97.
Dr. Billy McCormac died on September 13, 1999 at age 79. His many friends and colleagues will remember him for the legendary International Institutes on Space Plasma Physics, which he organized and directed between 1965 and 1975. He will also be remembered as the director of the Lockheed Solar Physics and Astrophysics group in the 1970s.
Dorothy Davis Locanthi, a long-time AAS member, died in Glendale, California on September 27, 1999. An only child, she was born Dorothy N. Davis on April 19, 1913 in East St. Louis, IL, where she attended public schools and graduated from high school in three years. After one year at Ferry Hall, a college preparatory school in Lake Forest, IL, she entered Vassar College in 1929. There she majored in physics and took all the astronomy courses she could under Caroline Furness and Maud Makemson.
Robert M. Light passed away at the home of his father in Carlsbad, New Mexico at the age of 38. Bob, as he was known to his colleagues, was born in Carlsbad on August 14, 1959 to Jo Anna Wills Light and Robert S. Light. He spent his formative years in Carlsbad, attending elementary and high school there.
Frank John Kerr died on 15 September 2000 at his home in Silver Spring, MD. He is survived by his sister Valerie Kerr, son Ian Kerr, daughter Robin Lowry, and four grandchildren, Sean, Kathryn, Alyssa and Talulah, all in Australia. His first wife Kathleen Royce, his second wife Maureen Parnell and his daughter Gillian predeceased him.
William Kaula, professor of geophysics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and one of the leading geophysicists and planetary physicists of the last four decades, died of cancer at the age of 73 on April 1, 2000.
My father, Sidney O. Kastner — solar physicist, astrophysicist, and AAS member — died August 25, 1999, at the age of 73, following a stoic battle with cancer. Most of his 50-year career in science was spent at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where, in 1959, he was one of the first scientists hired by the Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics. He remained on the Lab science staff until 1982, when he chose to retire.
A learned, well-rounded scholar; a man of many talents which he chose to keep hidden from the world; a quiet, encouraging friend to many whom he helped along life's way. By way of example, during his 60 years associated with the Boy Scout movement, he was scoutmaster to 15 troops, and many of his scouts, inspired by his example, went on to their own distinguished careers.
Robert Hjellming died of natural causes while scuba diving on July 29, 2000. A member of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) Basic Research staff, he is survived by his wife Carol and their five children.