With the passing of Donald Alexander MacRae on 6 December 2006 at age 90, the astronomy community lost a visionary scientist and a great educator in the field.
All Posts by Crystal M. Tinch
Professor Per Maltby, prominent Norwegian Solar Physicist at the Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics, University of Oslo, Norway, died on 24 May 2006. Lung cancer was diagnosed in February, but he was expected to improve. Until the end of March he came to his office every day, got recent papers off the web, and followed his field closely as he had always done.
Timothy Pendleton McCullough Jr., 93, a retired research physicist who was a pioneer in the measurement of microwave radiation from planetary surfaces, died of cardiac arrest on 19 November 2004, at Inova Fairfax Hospital. He lived in Springfield, VA.
McCullough, who was principally a radio astronomer, published 22 scientific research papers while working in the Atmosphere and Astrophysics Division of NRL, from 1946 until his retirement in 1975.
The astronomy community lost a good friend when Tom Metcalf was killed in a skiing accident on Saturday, 7 July 2007, in the mountains near Boulder, Colorado. Tom was widely known for prolific work on solar magnetic fields, hard-X-ray imaging of solar flares, and spectral line diagnostics. He was often characterized as "one of the nicest guys in science."
Donald Edward Osterbrock, one of the leading figures of post-World War II astronomy, died suddenly of a heart attack on 11 January 2007, while walking near his office at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He was 82 years old. His initials spelled D.E.O. (God in latin!), but he was known simply as Don to his many friends and colleagues.
Bohdan Paczynski, Lyman Spitzer, Jr. Professor of Astrophysics, died at home in Princeton, New Jersey, on April 19, 2007.
Ralph Robert Robbins, Jr., died on 2 December 2005, in Kyle, Texas. His wife, Maria Elena Robbins, his daughters Julia Robbins Kelso and Stephanie Juarez Balles, his son Matthew Juarez, and five grandchildren survive him. Bob was on the faculty at the University of Texas from 1968 until his retirement in 2003.
Hugo Schwarz died in a motorcycle accident on 20 October 2006 near his home in La Serena, Chile. At the time of his death he was a staff astronomer at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory and President of IAU Commission 50 (The Protection of Existing and Potential Observatory Sites).
Professor Michael John Seaton, hailed as the "Father of Atomic Astrophysics," passed away on May 29, 2007. He was one of the few Honorary Fellows of both the American Astronomical Society and the American Physical Society, so honored for his monumental contributions to both physics and astronomy.
Gerald Frederick Tape, a distinguished science statesman and administrator, died on November 20, 2005. Jerry, as he was known to all, took on many diverse and important responsibilities throughout his life and dealt with them with quiet authority and grace. This was the hallmark of his life. The Board of Trustees of Associated Universities, Inc., which he served for many years, expressed this in its condolences, writing "Jerry personified integrity, thoroughness and dedication.
James H. "Trex" Trexler, Naval Center for Space Technology, a retired scientist and astronomer, with a 50-year career at NRL died of cancer on October 22, 2005, at the age of 87.
Born in Missoula, Montana (May 18, 1918), he grew up in Dallas, Texas, and attended Southern Methodist University (SMU) Engineering School. He combined his interests in astronomy and radio communication and operated the observatory on the SMU campus. Mr. Trexler had a most interesting and rewarding career at NRL, which resulted in notable contributions in scientific and technical developments.
Frank James Low was born on November 23, 1933, in Mobile, Alabama. He received his undergraduate degree in physics from Yale University in 1955, and his Ph.D. in physics from Rice University in 1959. He worked at Texas Instruments, NRAO, Rice University, and spent most of his career at The University of Arizona with Steward Observatory and the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.
It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Peter Robert Wilson, a well-known and well-loved figure in the solar physics community. Peter was on the faculty of the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Sydney for 39 years, and Chair of the department for 24 of these years. He was the author or co-author of more than 80 scientific research papers and a book, Solar and Stellar Activity Cycles (1994), published by Cambridge University Press. He died suddenly of a heart attack, at his home in Glebe, Australia, in the early morning of 11 November 2007.
On 24 May 2008, Andrew Stephen Wilson passed away at the age of 61, in his home in Silver Spring, Maryland, from complications resulting from a painful spinal illness. Andrew was arguably one of the first truly multi-wavelength astronomers of his generation. His scientific work on active galactic nuclei [AGN] spanned the entire electromagnetic spectrum from the radio to the X-rays.
Heinrich Johannes Wendker, retired professor at Hamburg University, died on 3 April 2008 at the age of 69 at Reinbek near Hamburg, Germany. He was born on 30 June 1938 in Gimbte, near Munster, Westphalia, Germany. In 1958 he finished high-school and started his studies of mathematics, physics, and astronomy at Munster University. In 1960 Wendker joined the Astronomical Institute at the University and became attracted to the relatively new field of radio astronomy. In the same year he participated in a radio survey (at a wavelength of 11 cm) with the 25-m dish of Stockert observatory.
Dr. Eugene R. Tomer passed away on 2 July 2007 at his home in San Francisco, California. The cause of death was cancer. Tomer was a consulting applied mathematician with a wide range of interests in dynamical astronomy, electromagnetic theory for use in communications, and computational methods of applied mathematics. He was a member of AAS, and the Society for Applied and Industrial Mathematics [SIAM]. With K. H. Prendergast, he co-wrote the influential paper "Self-consistent Models of Elliptical Galaxies," published in the Astronomical Journal 75 (1970), 674-679.
Philip Solomon, one of the pioneers and leading researchers in molecular astrophysics, died on 30 April 2008 at his apartment on the upper west side of Manhattan after a battle with cancer. His pioneering research included both theoretical and very extensive observational studies of stellar atmospheres, interstellar molecules, high redshift galaxies, and the Earth's stratosphere. Phil was Distinguished Professor at The State University of New York [SUNY], Stony Brook, where he had been since 1974.
Harding Eugene Smith Junior, or Gene, as he was known to family, friends, and colleagues, passed away after an automobile accident in Encinitas, California, on 16 August 2007. He was 60 years old. Gene had recently retired from UCSD after thirty years of service. A memorial service was held at Quail Botanical Gardens in Encinitas, California, on 23 August 2007. A web page is dedicated to his memory at http://harding.smith.muchloved.com, where contributions of memories are invited.
Maurice Shapiro was an outstanding scientist and educator whose contributions spanned a range of fields: He was the leader of the "Water Effects" group (study of underwater explosions) within the Los Alamos Ordnance Division in the Manhattan project during World War II; he witnessed the Trinity test and there "shared a blanket with Hans Bethe." Shapiro understood the nature of the new weapons and helped to form the Association of Los Alamos Scientists [ALAS] to lobby for a civilian atomic-energy commission.
With great sadness we report that Edmond (Ed) M. Reeves, a former leader of solar space research projects at Harvard College Observatory [HCO] and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics [CfA], died on 8 August 2008, in Arlington, Virginia, after a long and heroic struggle with cancer.