Distinguished Service Professor Alex G. Smith joined the faculty of the University of Florida in 1948. By the time he retired as a full time professor in 1998 he had completed 50 years of service to the university. Smith was responsible for the initiation and development of the entire University of Florida astronomy program, both teaching and research, which resulted in our current status as a nationally ranked department of astronomy.
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Lee Will Simon, an astronomer by education, and a planetarium administrator by profession, was born on 18 February 1940 in Evanston, Illinois. He was the son of Clarence T. Simon, a professor of speech pathology at Northwestern University, and Dorothy née Will Simon, a homemaker, drama coach and published poet. Simon earned a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics (1962), a Master's degree in Astronomy (1964), and a Doctorate in Astronomy (1972), all from Northwestern University. His doctoral dissertation was on the spectroscopy of long-period variable stars.
Rein Silberberg, an internationally recognized authority in cosmic ray and astrophysics research, died of cancer on 31 August 2001 in Silver Spring, Maryland. He was widely admired among his colleagues for his research on the origin and propagation of cosmic rays. He retired from the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, DC in 1990, where he spent virtually his entire scientific career. He continued an active role in cosmic ray research and high energy astrophysics until his death.
Philip Edward Seiden died on 21 April 2001 from congestive heart failure that followed an intensive treatment for cancer in the1980s. He joined our astronomical community when he was 44, after a successful career as a solid state physicist and IBM manager. He worked on galactic structure from 1978 to 1989 and on the structure of sunspot groups from 1992 to 1996.
Julian Jay Schreur, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, died of complications associated with a liver transplant on 3 November 2001 in Houston, Texas.
Dr. Robert A. Schommer, a widely recognized expert on stellar populations and on cosmology, died tragically on 12 December 2001, in La Serena, Chile. Since 1990, he had been on the staff at the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory, where he was the equivalent of full professor, and where he had become the Project Scientist for the U.S. Gemini Project Office.
John Albert Russell, pioneer meteor spectroscopist and founder of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Southern California (USC), died of old age on 2 November 2001. He was 88.
Ervin J. Prouse, Professor Emeritus, The University of Texas at Austin, died on 16 June 1998 in Amarillo, Texas. He was ninety-two years old.
John Gardner Phillips died, after a brief period of failing health, on 1 June 2001. He was an active member of the faculty in the Astronomy Department on the Berkeley campus of the University of California from 1950 until well after his retirement in 1987.
An ardent supporter of astronomy and AAS Patron, Gladys Frelinghuysen Talmage Perkin, passed away on 28 November 2000. She was the widow of Perkin-Elmer Corporation co-founder, Richard Scott Perkin (1906-1969). Mrs Perkin was born on 13 May 1907, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Frelinghuysen Talmage of Brooklyn Heights and East Hampton, Long Island, New York. She attended Brooklyn Heights Seminary and Pine Manor in Wellesley, Massachusetts before graduating from Pratt Institute in 1929.
Dr. Leonid Ozernoy, a well-known astrophysicist trained in the former Soviet Union, died on 28 February 2002 after a long illness. Born on 19 May 1939 in Moscow, Leonid Ozernoy earned degrees in astronomy and physics from Moscow University. He received his doctorate in physics and mathematics in 1971 from the P. N. Lebedev Physics Institute in Moscow, where he worked as a senior research scientist from 1971-1986. He completed his dissertation under the guidance of Dr. Vitaly Ginzburg, one of the most senior Soviet astrophysicists. Dr.
Richard Irwin Mitchell, astronomer and mathematician, passed away on 5 February 1990, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after a long illness. He was the only child of Lawrence C. Mitchell and Helen (nèe Thompson) Mitchell and was born in Oakland, California on 1 February 1927. He
went to Frick Jr. High and Fremont High School, both in Oakland. After graduating early from high school, Mitchell enlisted in the US Navy. He was discharged in 1946 as Electronics Technicians Mate Second Class.
Peter Meyer, a distinguished astrophysicist and pioneer in cosmic-ray observations, died in Chicago on 7 March 2002, after a stroke, following long illness. He was born in Berlin, Germany, on 6 January 1920, the son of Franz Julius Meyer, a Jewish physician, and Frida Luise (née Lehmann) Meyer, a nurse. Peter received his initial academic training at the Technical University in Berlin, with the famous physicist Hans Geiger as one of his teachers. He received a degree as Diplom Ingenieur in 1942 with a thesis on proportional counters.
Henry L. Yeagley, Sr., died at his home in State College, Pennsylvania on 26 December 1996. He was a true son of the Keystone State, born in York, PA on 17 July 1899. His first employment was as a chemist with York Manufacturing Co. (1919-1922), apparently a secure enough job to permit his marriage in 1920 (from which three children were born). He then returned to school, earning BS (1925), MS (1927), and PhD (1934) degrees in physics and astronomy from Pennsylvania State University.
Samuel C. Wheeler, Jr., professor emeritus of physics at Denison University, passed away on 9 May 1995 at his home in Granville, Ohio. Born in Montclair, New Jersey, 3 June 1913, Sam graduated from Hamilton (Ohio) High School in 1920, earned a bachelor's degree from Miami University of Ohio in 1942, and a master's degree from the University of Illinois in 1943. During World War II, he did underwater sound research at the San Diego Naval Base, remaining as a physicist with the US Navy Electronics Lab until 1948.
Fletcher Watson was born in Baltimore and graduated from Pomona College (California) in 1933. After earning his PhD in astronomy from Harvard University in 1938, working with Whipple, he joined the staff of the Harvard College Observatory. Watson was the author of Between the Planets (1941), a popular book concerning comets, meteors, asteroids, and meteorites that was translated into several languages.
H. Beat Wackernagel, best known for his pioneering role in the development of US Space Command's ability to maintain a catalog of all manmade space objects, died in Colorado Springs on 2 August 1992. He is survived by his wife, the former Irene Chavez, two daughters and two sons.
Vladimir Vanysek, professor emeritus of astrophysics at Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, died in Prague on 27 July 1997 after a long, severe illness at the age of 70. He was born on 8 August 1926 in Prague, graduated in 1950 from Masa University, Brno, and received a PhD in astrophysics from Charles University in 1956, with a thesis entitled "Dispersion of Velocities and Masses of B Stars."
Richard Tousey, astrophysicist and long time employee of Naval Research Laboratory, died of pneumonia in Prince Georges Hospital Center on 15 April 1997. He had spent most of his 37 years at NRL as head of the Rocket Spectroscopy Branch of the Optics Division, later the Space Science Division, before retiring in 1978. Tousey was born in Somerville, Massachusetts on 18 May 1908 and graduated from Tufts in 1928. He received MA (1929) and PhD (1933) degrees in physics from Harvard and an Sc.D (honoris causa) from Tufts in 1961.
Clyde Tombaugh, known for his discovery of Pluto in 1930, was born on 4 February 1906 in Streator, illinois, and died of congestive heart failure on 17 January 1997 in his home in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Clyde spent his childhood on farms in Illinois and Kansas. He was introduced to astronomy by his uncle, who owned a 3-inch telescope. After graduating from high school, Clyde made his own 9-inch reflector and began an active program observing the planets.