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All Posts by Crystal M. Tinch

Clyde William Tombaugh (1906 - 1997)

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.

William Reid Thompson (1952 - 1996)

W. Reid Thompson, Senior Research Associate in the Laboratory for Planetary Studies at Cornell University, died on 22 April 1996, at age 44, after a long and courageous fight with metastatic lung cancer. Thompson, who first came to Cornell as a graduate student in biophysical chemistry, entered planetary science when the opportunities to investigate organic chemistry in the outer Solar System were just beginning to blossom.

Lois Keener Thome (1897 - 1994)

Lois Keener Thome, who preferred not to reveal her exact birthdate, was a native of Illinois but a California resident for most of her life. She graduated from Pasadena High School in 1915 and the University of Southern California in about 1919, with a degree in sociology. She worked in the computing division of the Mt. Wilson Observatory from 1919 to 1924 on measurements and reductions for the Physical Laboratory, which specialized in laboratory spectroscopy to support astronomical work.

Roger John Tayler (1929 - 1997)

Roger Tayler, a Publisher Affiliate member of AAS, died 23 January 1997 after a long fight against cancer. He was a distinguished and versatile  astrophysicist, contributing to our understanding of the structure and evolution of stars, galaxies, and the universe as a whole. He also did important work on the stability of laboratory plasmas. As an officer of the Royal Astronomical Society and editor of its journal, he gave outstanding service to the astronomical community, both nationally and internationally. Many of his students now hold senior positions over the world.

Ralph E. Sturm (1907 - 1994)

Ralph E. Sturm, who died on 30 June 1994, was a native of Jasper, Indiana, who never quite got around to finishing the bachelor's degree in engineering that he began at Notre Dame in 1930. Instead, he became an extraordinarily versatile and productive instrument developer, working in aviation, the automobile industry, radiology, and more, in the process of which, he completed the academic requirements for a PhD in physics at the Johns Hopkins University, working with Russell H. Morgan.

Lyman Spitzer Jr. (1914 - 1997)

Astronomy lost one of the great figures of this century with the passing, on 31 March 1997, of Lyman Spitzer, Jr. He will be remembered as a major contributor to understanding of the interstellar medium, plasma physics, the structure of the Milky Way and other galaxies, and the dynamics of star clusters; as the father of the Copernicus ultraviolet satellite and the Hubble Space Telescope; and as the guiding figure of the Princeton Astronomy Department for more than a third of a century.

Roman Smoluchowski (1910 - 1996)

Roman Smoluchowski was born in Zakopane, Poland on 31 August 1910. He died in Austin, Texas on 12 January 1996 after a distinguished career in industrial and academic research that spanned both physics and astrophysics. He received his master's degree in physics from the University of Warsaw in 1933 and a doctorate in physics and mathematics from the University of Groningen in 1935. He spent a postdoctoral year at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where, with Eugene Wigner, he wrote the seminal paper on the application of group theory to solid state physics.

Jack William Slowey (1932 - 1997)

Jack Slowey, a staff member of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for more than 40 years and a participant in this country's immediate response to the launch of Sputnik I, died suddenly of an aneurysm on 25 January 1997. He is survived by his wife, Auralie, three sons, and a daughter.

Eugene Shoemaker (1928 - 1997)

Gene Shoemaker was an astronomer and geologist who was fortunate enough to be born at the perfect time, just as watchful eyes were turning toward the Moon. He was also resourceful enough to make this time his own. Born 28 April 1928, Gene was firmly hooked on geology not long after his mother gave him, at age 7, a set of agate marbles. Educated in Los Angeles, he received a BSc from Caltech in 1947 and a masters degree from the same institution in 1948.

Martin Schwarzschild (1912 - 1997)

Martin Schwarzschild, Higgins Professor of Astronomy, Emeritus, at Princeton University, died on 10 April 1997 following a heart attack, just ten days after the death of his close personal and scientific friend, Lyman Spitzer. They were together at Princeton for half a century; they made Princeton a truly unique place for astrophysics; and they kept it unique for decades. Their presence was strongly felt all the way to the end, and it is very hard to imagine how we shall continue without them. Martin would have been 85 on May 31.

Leon William Schroeder (1921 - 1995)

Leon W. Schroeder, for many years the astronomer at Oklahoma State University, was born 25 January 1921 in Guthrie, OK and graduated from Stillwater High School in 1937. His college work at Oklahoma A&M College was interrupted by flight training and, eventually, teaching at the No. 3 British Flying Training School in Miami, OK. He retained his pilot's license and frequently provided transportation for members and visitors of the Oklahoma State physics department.

Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)

American astronomy lost its clearest and most colorful public voice with the death of Carl Sagan on 20 December 1996, at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, as an immediate result of pneumonia, secondary to myelodysplasia. A native of Brooklyn, New York (born 9 November 1934), Sagan graduated in 1951 from Rahway High School, Rahway, New Jersey (which now boasts a Carl Sagan Science Wing, dedicated in 1991).

Jurgen H. Rahe (1939 - 1997)

Dr. Jurgen H. Rahe, Director for Solar System Exploration in NASA's Office of Space Science, was killed in an act of staggering randomness on 18 June 1997 when a 5-foot diameter oak tree fell during a storm, crushing his car. Jurgen is remembered as a respected, effective, and well-liked scientist and administrator, but above all as a gracious and gentle man. He is mourned by his wife, Hazel, daughter Isabell, two brothers in Germany, other family members, and countless colleagues and friends.

Edward Mills Purcell (1912 - 1997)

An experimental physicist who shared the 1952 Nobel Prize in Physics with Felix Bloch for their independent discovery of nuclear magnetic resonance, Purcell also contributed substantially to both observational and theoretical astrophysics. He shared the 1988 Tinsley Prize of the American Astronomical Society with Harold I. Ewen for their independent discovery of the emission of the HI 21-cm line by interstellar hydrogen. Ewen and Purcell's discovery was published in Nature (168, 356, 1951), along with reports from J. Pawsey in Australia and J.

Jacobus A. Petterson (1946 - 1996)

Jacobus ("Koos") Petterson, best known in the astronomical community for his analysis of X-ray binary systems, died at his home in Carrollton, Georgia on 30 May 1996. Petterson was born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on 16 August 1946 and received an MS in Engineering Mathematics in 1970 from the Technical University in Delft for work with A. J.

Thomas H. Markert (1948 - 1996)

Thomas H. Markert died on 19 June 1996, after a long battle with cancer. Tom received his BS from Caltech in 1970 and his PhD from MIT in 1975, both in physics, joining the AAS the next year. He remained at MIT throughout his career, first as a member of the research staff and then as Principal Research Scientist in the Center for Space Research.