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All Posts by Crystal M. Tinch

John Hibbett DeWitt Jr. (1906 - 1999)

On Monday, January 25, 1999, the world lost a pioneering astronomer, John H. (Jack) DeWitt, Jr. He died at his home in Nashville, Tennessee, at the age of 92. He was a Nashvillian from beginning to end, having been born there on February 20, 1906. Many have described Jack as a boy genius, a visionary, a pioneer, and a war hero. He was indeed many things during his lifetime, and a more detailed biography appeared in 1988, in issue No. 31 of the I.A.P.P.P. Communications.

James Cuffey (1911 - 1999)

James Cuffey, one of the early developers of stellar photoelectric and photographic photometry, died May 30, 1999, in Bloomington, Indiana. He was a faculty member in the Departments of Astronomy at Indiana University (IU) and at New Mexico State University (NMSU) and the Seamanship and Navigation Department of the US Naval Academy. Born on October 8, 1911 in Chicago, Illinois, he became a graduate of Northwestern University in 1934 and received a PhD from Harvard in 1938.

Valentin Boriakoff (1938 - 1999)

Valentin Boriakoff died of kidney failure on 6 August 1999. Val was a radio astronomer with an extensive background in microelectronics and astrophysics. He conducted very high-resolution radio observations of pulsars to explore the microstructure of their pulse profiles, a research area of special importance for understanding the still-mysterious mechanism of pulsar radio emission.

David B. Beard (1922 - 1998)

David Breed Beard, a member of the AAS since 1970, succumbed to pneumonia on January 21, 1998, in Portland, Maine, at the age of 75. A fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Geophysical Union, David Beard was chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Kansas from 1964 to 1977, retiring a decade later as University Distinguished Professor of Physics.

Herbert Allen Zook (1932 - 2001)

Herb was 17, above timberline, herding cattle astride a horse. By the look of the sky and by the smell of ozone he knew a mountain thunderstorm was moving toward him. Cowboys on horseback are more likely to get hit by lightning than are sub-par golfers standing on the fairway holding nine irons high over their heads.

John Gray Wolbach (1917 - 2000)

John Wolbach was born in Boston, Massachusetts on 27 February 1917. He loved astronomy and wanted to go to Harvard to study the stars. With the help of a young graduate student named Leo Goldberg, John began to fulfil his dream at Harvard College Observatory in the late 1930s. The development of World War II, however, interrupted his studies and he left college to serve in the Air Force as an instructor in chemical warfare. After the war, John resumed his studies and earned his BA in 1948.

Robert Neal Whitehurst (1922 - 2000)

Dr. Robert Neal Whitehurst, age 77, a retired Professor of Astronomy at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, died on 28 April 2000. Dr. Whitehurst received his BS and MS degrees at the University of Alabama in 1943 and 1948, and his PhD in Physics at Stanford in 1958.

Working with various colleagues and students at the University of Alabama during the 1950's, Bob's research concerned the technical side of radio astronomy. He developed devices for measuring solar radiation and atmospheric attenuation at the 6-mm wavelength.

Joyce M. Rey Watson (1922 - 2001)

Joyce Rey-Watson was a librarian who specialized in searching online astronomical databases. As such, she became a member of the American Astronomical Society. In the 1980s and 1990s she became a well-known figure at AAS meetings where she set up computers and demonstrated techniques for online searching of astronomical databases.

Thomas Lee Swihart (1929 - 1995)

Born in Elkhart, Indiana, on 29 July 1929, Thomas Lee Swihart (Tom) died suddenly of a massive heart attack on 12 May 1995, while on a vacation cruise to Hawaii with his wife, Merna. Appointed Assistant Professor in the University of Arizona (UA) Faculty, in the Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory, on 1 July 1963, and promoted in June 1969 to Full Professor, Tom remained a active member of that faculty until his retirement with the rank of Emeritus Professor on 15 August 1994.

Kaj Aage Strand (1907 - 2000)

Kaj Aage Strand, Scientific Director of the US Naval Observatory from 1963-1977, died 31 October 2000 from a stroke at the Manor Care Nursing Home in Washington, DC. He was 93. During a long and distinguished career, he specialized in positional astronomy, especially work on double stars and stellar distances. He was responsible for the design and construction of the Navy's 61-inch astrometric reflector in Flagstaff Arizona, now known as the Strand Astrometric Telescope.

Newton G. Sprague (1914 - 1998)

Newton Gordon Sprague, the first director of the Ball State University Planetarium, passed' away on 18 September 1998 at the age of 84. Born and educated in Indianapolis, Sprague received a BS in Chemistry from Butler University in 1935. Following his graduation Sprague worked as a postal clerk because of poor economic conditions that prevailed during the Great Depression.

Joseph William Siry (1920 - 2001)

Joseph W. Siry died after a brief illness at the age of 80 on 4 January 2001. Born in New York City and raised in New Jersey, Siry earned a BS in Physics from Rutgers University in 1941. He served in the US Navy from 1942 to 1946 with the final rank of Lieutenant. While in the Navy, his training included courses at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was followed by duty at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, DC.

John Alexander Simpson (1916 - 2000)

John Simpson died at age 83 in Chicago on 31 August 2000 from pneumonia following successful heart surgery. He was renowned as a nuclear and cosmic-ray physicist. At the University of Chicago he was the Arthur H. Compton Distinguished Service Professor emeritus at the Enrico Fermi Institute and the Department of Physics.

Simpson was born on 3 November 1916 in Portland, Oregon. He received an AB degree in physics from Reed College in 1940. At New York University he earned an MS degree in physics in 1942 and his PhD in 1943.

Olof E. H. Rydbeck (1911 - 1999)

Olof Rydbeck died on 27 March 1999. He was the founder of Onsala Space Observatory and one of the world's pioneers of radio astronomy during its rapid growth after World War II. While at Harvard in the late 1930s, he became interested in the ionosphere and its effects on wireless transmission; in 1940 he finished his doctoral thesis on radio wave reflection from the ionosphere.

Reuven Ramaty (1937 - 2001)

Reuven Ramaty, a pioneer in high energy astrophysics, died of complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, at his home in Silver Spring, Maryland, on 8 April 2001. Undaunted by the ravages of his illness, he was still studying new cosmic ray data in his last hours. He is survived by his wife, Vera, his two daughters, Daphne and Deborah, and five grandchildren.

Frank Quimby Orrall (1925 - 2000)

At the age of 74, Professor Orrall died in Ipswich, Massachusetts on 4 February 2000. He is renowned worldwide for the scope of his research on the solar corona and for his dedication to teaching.

Orrall was born on 15 October 1925 in Somerville, Massachusetts and received his BS in physics from the University of Massachusetts in 1950. At Harvard, under the supervision of Professors Donald Menzel and Richard Thomas, he earned his PhD in 1956.

Thomas J. Ogburn III (1914 - 1995)

Thomas J. Ogburn III was born in Richmond, Virginia and remained a resident of that city for his entire life. Although encouraged by his father's interest in astronomy, Ogburn first studied engineering for two years at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute extension in Richmond. He then entered Yale University where he first majored in physics and minored in mathematics. However, through his evident love of astronomy, Ogburn persuaded the Yale faculty to allow him to take astronomy classes taught at that time only at the graduate level.