Former AAS president Arthur Dodd Code, age 85, passed away at Meriter Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin on 11 March 2009, from complications involving a long-standing pulmonary condition. Code was born in Brooklyn, New York on 13 August 1923, as the only child of former Canadian businessman Lorne Arthur Code and Jesse (Dodd) Code. An experienced ham radio operator, he entered the University of Chicago in 1940, but then enlisted in the U.S. Navy (1943-45) and was later stationed as an instructor at the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C.
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Rodger Doxsey, an astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute, passed away on October 13, 2009, after a prolonged illness. For the past 20 years, Rodger has been known to be truly the go-to guy for making the Hubble Space Telescope perform as it has. I have always argued that no person is truly irreplaceable. I still believe that to be true. However, my colleague and friend Rodger Doxsey came probably as close as anyone ever could to being irreplaceable. I know of no one who had a deeper and more thorough understanding of the workings of HST than Rodger had.
Edwin E. Salpeter, who died 26 November 2008 at his home in Ithaca, NY, belonged to the "second wave" of Jewish scientific refugees from Nazi-dominated Europe, those who left as children just before the onset of WWII and so completed their educations elsewhere. Salpeter was born in Vienna on 3 December 1924, and arrived with his family in Australia in 1939, his father was a physicist and a close friend of Erwin Schrodinger. In Australia, he finished high school, and he entered the University of Sydney at the early age of 16.
Jörn Rossa (often spelled Joern Rossa) passed away on September 19, 2009 at the young age of 40 in Mainz, Germany from a virulent fast-acting blood cancer. He was born in that same city on March 17, 1969 to Alfred and Gudrun Rossa, who survive their only child.
On March 28, 2008, the space research community lost another of its pioneers. William A. Rense, professor emeritus of physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder, who died in Estes Park, Colorado, following complications from cancer. He was 94. Bill, as he was widely known, was born in 1914 in Massillon, Ohio, the son of German immigrants. His was a large family - five brothers and one sister. His father, Joseph Rense, worked for the city of Cleveland while his mother, Rosalia (Luther) Rense was a housewife.
Russell Benjamin Makidon died at the age of 38 in Baltimore on June 22, 2009. Complications following surgery to remove a tumor cut his life tragically short.
Hanging in the basement of Kirkwood Observatory on the Indiana University campus is a battered sign, dated Aug 31, 1932, announcing "Indiana Univ. Eclipse Station." While the path of totality passed well north of Bloomington, IN, where only 80% of the Sun's disk was covered, the eclipse made a lasting impression on the young Frank Kelley Edmondson, then an undergraduate student at Indiana University.
John W. Firor, a former Director of the High Altitude Observatory and the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and a founder of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society, died of Alzheimer's disease in Pullman, Washington on November 5, 2007, he was 80. He was born in Athens Georgia on October 18, 1927, where his father was a professor of agricultural economics.
Robert H. Koch, emeritus professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Pennsylvania, passed away at his home in Ardmore, Pennsylvania on 11 October 2010 after a brief illness. Bob was 80 years old and remained sharp and intellectually engaged with the astronomical community up until the onset of complications from a brain tumor.
Professor Benjamin F. Peery, Jr. died at his home in Silver Spring, MD of natural causes on 30 November 2010. His full life began in St. Joseph, MO (home of the Pony Express) on 4 March 1922.
In his seventy years, Malcolm Raff never did figure out exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up. The only son of lawyer Henry Raff and music teacher Ruth Raff (nee Marshak), Mal’s interests vacillated between the analytical and the artistic. Early skill as a pianist and trombone player competed for his youthful attention with amateur radio and astronomy, leading him to pursue a liberal arts education at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, from which institution he earned BS degrees in math and physics in 1961.
Thomas J. Ahrens, a leader in the use of shock waves to study planetary interiors and impact phenomena, died at his home in Pasadena, California on November 24, 2010, at the age of 74. He was the California Institute of Technology’s Fletcher Jones Professor of Geophysics, formally emeritus since 2005 but professionally active to the end.