Damon Paul Simonelli died unexpectedly on 1 December 2004 after he collapsed of heart failure at his home near Pasadena, California. Damon led pioneering studies in the scientific exploration of the satellites of the Solar System with spacecraft. He was a longtime member of the AAS's Division for Planetary Sciences community. Only two weeks before his death he attended the 2004 DPS meeting in Louisville where he presented a paper on the surface roughness of Phoebe based on Cassini observations.
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Gibson Reaves died on 8 April 2005 in Torrance, California, from advanced metastatic prostate cancer. He contributed to the early study of dwarf galaxies in the Virgo cluster, but his greatest contribution to astronomy lives in the students whom he taught at the Department of Astronomy at the University of Southern California.
Kevin H. Prendergast, Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University, died 8 September 2004 at the age of 75 from complications of lung cancer. He had been at Columbia for more than fifty years.
Jason Porter, a solar astronomer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), died on 23 July 2005 from complications associated with his 18-year battle with a form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was born on 28 June 1954.
Albert G. Petschek died suddenly 8 July 2004. He enjoyed good health and was very active professionally and personally until his death. He was highly respected, particularly in theoretical physics, for his deep, broad-ranging analytical powers, which resulted in contributions to nuclear physics, astrophysics, atmospheric physics, quantum mechanics, and quantum computing.
Philip Morrison, who died 22 April 2005 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was born in Somerville, New Jersey on 7 November 1915 to Moses and Tilly (née Rosenbloom) Morrison. Early childhood polio confined him for extended periods, during which he apparently developed his remarkable skill at speed reading. Speed writing (leading to a bibliography of more than 600 items) came later, and his memory must always have been exceedingly retentive.
John Daniel Kraus, 94, of Delaware, Ohio, director of the Ohio State University "Big Ear" Radio Observatory, physicist, inventor, and environmentalist died 18 July 2004 at his home in Delaware, Ohio. He was born on 28 June 1910 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He received a Bachelor of Science in 1930, a Master of Science in 1931, and a PhD in physics in 1933 (at 23 years of age), all from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Walter Alexander Feibelman, 79, an astronomer who discovered the E-ring of Saturn, died of a heart attack 19 November 2004 at his home at Riderwood Village in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Walter was born 30 October 1925 in Berlin, Germany to Bernard and Dora Feibelman. He came to the United States with his parents in 1941. They were some of the last German Jews to flee Nazi Germany. Years later, he reported his experiences in an account contributed to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
David Stanley Evans died on 14 November 2004 in Austin, Texas. He was a noted observational astronomer whose career was divided between South Africa and Texas. He also used the extensive historical collections at the University of Texas to write several books on the history of astronomy.
Geoffrey Gardner Douglass passed away on 15 February 2005, following a long illness. Geoff was born 11 June 1942 in Rocky River, Ohio, and grew up there with a passion for science, theatre, and pets. He attended the nearby Case Institute of Technology (Cleveland, Ohio) before coming to the U.S. Naval Observatory on 28 April 1967. He worked at the USNO for over 30 years, until his retirement in January 1999.
Alastair Graham Walker Cameron, one of the most creative and influential astrophysicists of his generation, passed away on 3 October 2005, at the age of 80, at his home in Tucson. Subsequent to his retirement from Harvard University, where he had been a member of the faculty from 1973 through 1999, Cameron remained active as a Senior Research Scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory of the University of Arizona.
Norman H. Baker, a key contributor to the foundation of modern stellar pulsation theory and former editor of the "Astronomical Journal", died on 11 October 2005 in Watertown, New York near his beloved summer home in Natural Bridge. He succumbed to complications of Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, a bone marrow lymphoma that he had successfully surmounted for twenty-two years.
Dr. James Gilbert Baker, renowned astronomer and optical physicist, died 29 June 2005 at his home in Bedford, New Hampshire at the age of 90. Although his scientific interest was astronomy, his extraordinary ability in optical design led to the creation of hundreds of optical systems that supported astronomy, aerial reconnaissance, instant photography (Polaroid SX70 camera), and the US space programs. He was the recipient of numerous awards for his creative work.
Wulff Dieter Heintz, Professor Emeritus of Astronomy at Swarthmore College, passed away at his home on 10 June 2006, following a two-year battle with lung cancer. He had turned seventy-six just one week earlier. Wulff was a leading authority on visual double stars and also a chess master. A prominent educator, researcher, and scholar, Wulff was noted for being both succinct and meticulous in everything he did.
Michael John Klein died on 14 May 2005 at home in South Pasadena, California. The cause of death was tongue cancer that metastasized to the lungs. He was a non-smoker. Mike was a passionate radio astronomer, a trusted astronomical observer, an educator and a family man.
Dr. Barry J. LaBonte, age 55, a senior solar physicist in the Space Department of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, died on 24 October 2005 in Philadelphia of complications following surgery. He was an internationally recognized expert on solar magnetic fields, the solar cycle, and on the sophisticated instruments needed for studying them.
Alexander (Andy) Franz Lubenow, Program Coordinator at the Space Telescope Science Institute, was diagnosed with cancer of the gallbladder, pancreas, and liver in May 2005 and died on 29 September 2005. He was forty-nine.
Cornell (Connie) H. Mayer, a pioneer of radio astronomy, died on 19 November 2005 of congestive heart failure at his home in Mt. Vernon, Virginia. He was eighty-three.
John Perdrix, astronomical historian and co-founder of the Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, died on 27 June 2005.
John Louis Perdrix was born in Adelaide, Australia, on 30 June 1926. After studying chemistry at Melbourne Technical College and working in industry, he joined the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's Division of Minerals and Geochemistry. In 1974 the Division relocated to the Western Australian capital, Perth, and John spent the rest of his working life there involved in geochemical research.
A. Keith Pierce was a solar astronomer who will be remembered for bringing the physics lab to the telescope and for his design of the world's largest solar telescope, the 1.5-meter McMath Telescope on Kitt Peak in Arizona. Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, he died of cancer in Tucson on 11 March 2005. He was eighty-six.
His father, Tracy Pierce, had gone to graduate school in Berkeley, California, with a major in mathematics and a minor in astronomy. Fellow students of his class included Seth Nicholson and Donald Shane, people who were later to influence young Keith's life.