Victor E. Thoren died on 9 March 1991 in Los Angeles, California of complications of Hodgkin's disease. He was one of the world's foremost historians of astronomy and the preeminent authority on the life and work of the great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601).
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Harlan J. Smith died on 17 October 1991 of complications related to cancer, two weeks after reluctantly postponing a trip to Hawaii. The optimistic enthusiasm and determination which characterized his entire life did not desert him at the end.
Walter Orr Roberts was born in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts on August 20, 1915, and died in Boulder, Colorado on March 12,1990, at age 74. In 1938 he was graduated from Amherst College in western Massachusetts and that year entered graduate school at Harvard. In 1940 he married Janet Smock, who was to be his wife for 50 years.
Marguerite Risley is remembered as a friendly, dignified and gracious lady, highly capable in both research and teaching. She was born in Wanakena, New York, on September 2, 1905, attended Syracuse University of Jamesville, New York, earning an A.B. in 1926 and A.M. in 1928. In 1942 she was awarded the Ph.D.degree at Radcliffe College. Meanwhile, in 1926-27, she taught high school at Shortsville, N.Y.
Ana Gomes Nash, an astronomer in the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Space Science Division and Associate Scientist of the Applied Research Corporation of Landover, Maryland, died suddenly on February 14, 1992.
John Merrill died on November 29, 1991 in Columbus, Ohio as a result of complications following a leg amputation made necessary by extreme peripheral vascular disease. He had been incapacitated by this condition for a number of years.
Merrill was born on May 10, 1902 in Parsonsfield, Maine. He received a Master's degree in Greek from Boston University in 1923, a Master's degree in mathematics at Case Institute of Technology in 1927. He then earned a Master's degree in mathematics at Princeton University in 1929, followed by a Ph.D. in astronomy in 1931.
Dr. Satoshi Matsushima, professor emeritus of astronomy at The Pennsylvania State University, died on January 31, 1992, at Columbia Hospital in New York City. Born on May 6, 1923, he was 68 years old. From 1976 to 1989, Dr. Matsushima served as Head of Penn State's Department of Astronomy. He succeeded Dr. John P. Hagen, founder of the Department, who died in 1990.
After being hospitalized briefly, James A. Hughes died of cancer on January 15th, 1992. A persistent cough that developed during the late summer of 1991 was finally diagnosed as esophageal cancer. Although feeling the effects of his illness, he continued his work until December 10th and was hospitalized at the end of the month. His professional career was spent at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. where he was not only one of the most distinguished members of the staff but also an accessible and very popular person who was known to most as "Jim."
William Albert Hiltner was born on August 27, 1914 on his parents' farm in North Creek, Ohio, some 45 miles southwest of Toledo. He received his early education in the one room school house that served this farm community. Al acquired his interest in astronomy while still very young, apparently from an amateur astronomer who lived near the family farm. He purchased a small telescope and was disappointed when he found that Vega still looked like a "star" despite the magnification afforded by the telescope. Al graduated from a small high school in a graduating class of 17 in 1932.
Father Francis J. Heyden was born May 3, 1907, in Buffalo, New York. His father was a pharmacist, who suffered an untimely death due to a baseball injury. His mother was left with two teenage sons; Francis was the younger of the two. His family remembers him as an avid reader even as a child. His other major interest was radio. In the third-floor attic of his home, he spent much of his time "fooling around with electronics." At age sixteen he graduated from Canisius High School in Buffalo and immediately joined the Jesuit order.
John Scoville Hall, director emeritus of the Lowell Observatory, died of heart failure on October 15, 1991, at his home in Sedona, Arizona. Hall was born in Old Lyme, Connecticut, the son of Nathaniel and Harriet Hall. Nathaniel Hall was a farmer and candy manufacturer; Mrs. Hall was a graduate of Wellesley College. John Hall attended Morgan High School; but apparently had little contact with astronomy until his sophomore year at Amherst College where he enrolled in an astronomy course taught by Warren K. Green. Hall's serious interest in astronomy began with this encounter.
Edward L. Fireman, a nuclear physicist and meteoriticist who specialized in research on cosmic rays, solar flares, muons, and neutrinos, died suddenly of a massive heart attack on March 29, 1990, a few days after his 68th birthday.
Terence James Deeming was born in Birmingham, England on April 25, 1937. He was awarded a B.Sc. in physics by Birmingham University and then went to St. John's College, Cambridge, where he received his Ph.D. in 1961. This was for work at the Cambridge Observatories under the supervision of R.O. Redman on the absolute magnitude effect in stars on the intensities of the Mg b spectral lines. In 1959-60 he was sent with a British government grant to the Radcliffe Observatory at Pretoria, South Africa, directed by A.D. Thackeray.
Murk Bottema (no middle name) was born in Velzen, The Netherlands. He studied Physics at the University of Groningen where he received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees. He was a research associate of Nobel Prize physicist Fritz Zernicke from 1947 to 1957 and 1962-1964 which shaped his lifelong career in experimental and theoretical optics.
Dr. Wieslaw Z. Wisniewski of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona died suddenly and unexpectedly on February 28, 1994 at 62 years of age. He is survived by his wife and adult son who both live in Tucson. Born on May 2, 1931 in Poland, Wisniewski endured many hardships while surviving the Nazi occupation of Poland as a young boy, and later during the communist regime there.
Obituaries for Olin Wilson, a leading researcher in stellar spectroscopy for more than forty years on the staff of the Hale Observatories in Pasadena, will appear in the January, 1995 issue of Pub. Astron. Soc. Pacific and in Biographical Memoirs of the Natl. Acad. Sciences.
Balfour S. Whitney, Professor Emeritus of the University of Oklahoma, who taught astronomy and conducted research at the university from 1940 to 1969, died of heart failure on September 18, 1992. At that time he lived at the home of his daughter, Natalie Raab, in Minnesota.
Sheridan A. Simon, Jefferson-Pilot Professor of Physics at Guilford College, Greensboro, NC, died on April 8, 1994 after a short but intense battle with cancer. In his living, and in his dying, Sheridan demonstrated how human life can have a point. He did this, in the obvious way, with a myriad of achievements that fill the pages of a curriculum vitae: teaching awards, books and articles of science and science fiction, computer software and imaginary planets; and an expertise in Anglo-Saxon history. But his life had a point both deeper and rarer than this.
Obituaries for Bruno Rossi, a pioneer in the fields of cosmic rays and X-ray astronomy and longtime Professor of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will appear in Quarterly J. Royal Astronomical Soc. and Biographical Memoirs of the Natl. Acad. Sciences.
Franklin E. Roach was born in Jamestown, Michigan, some fifteen miles southwest of Grand Rapids, on September 23, 1905. His father, Richard F. Roach, born on a farm near Grand Rapids, was an optometrist; his mother, Ingeborg "Belle" Torgersen Roach, was a housewife. She had come to America at the age of three, the youngest child in a large immigrant family from Larvik, Norway. In time Franklin had two younger brothers and a younger sister. When he was about five the family moved to Wheaton, Illinois, just west of Chicago and within easy commuting distance of it.