As director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers for thirty years, Janet Mattei led the organization through a series of major improvements and in the process, helped and influenced amateur and professional astronomers around the world. Having successfully tackled many challenges, however, Janet lost her battle with acute myelogenous leukemia on 22 March 2004.
All Posts by Crystal M. Tinch
Michael James Ledlow died on 5 June 2004 from a large, unsuspected brain tumor. Since 2000 he had been on the scientific staff of the Gemini Observatory in La Serena, Chile, initially as a Science Fellow and then as a tenure-track astronomer.
Michael was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma on 1 October 1964 to Jerry and Sharon Ledlow. He obtained his Bachelor Degree in astrophysics at the University of
Oklahoma in 1987 and attended the University of New Mexico for his graduate work, obtaining his PhD while studying Galaxy Clusters under Frazer Owen in 1994.
J. (Jeannette) Virginia Lincoln died on 1 August 2003 of natural causes at age 87. She was a pioneer in space weather forecasting and was instrumental in establishing the World Data Center-A for Solar-Terrestrial Physics (WDC-A for STP) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC). Lincoln received a U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal for Distinguished Service in 1973 for outstanding accomplishments and leadership.
Henry Emil Kandrup died on 18 October 2003 at his home in Gainesville Florida. Henry was a theoretical astrophysicist specializing in the application of chaotic dynamics to stellar systems. At the time of his death, Henry was a Professor at the University of Florida where he had taught for 13 years.
My friend and colleague, Charles Hyder, was a true physicist with a sound intuitive grasp of fundamentals in modern physics and the underlying mathematics. I admired his knowledge of the history of modern physics and quantum mechanics when we discussed contemporary problems in interpreting solar observations. He had the ability to present his ideas clearly and persuasively to both students and his colleagues. His insatiable curiosity about life in general led him to consider the effects of nuclear weapons development on the human race.
Elizabeth (Beth) K. Holmes died suddenly in Pasadena on March 23, 2004, from the unexpected effects of a long-standing heart condition. She was 30 years old. At the moment of her passing, she was at her computer comparing her theoretical models on the effects of planets on the distribution of zodiacal dust with some of the first observations from the Spitzer Space Telescope.
R. Glenn Hall died on 25 June 2004 following a battle with prostate cancer. His contributions to the determination of the frequency corresponding to an energy level transition in the Cesium atom led to the definition of the length of the second and formed the basis for precise modern timekeeping.
Glenn was born on 23 June 1921 in Koloa, Hawaii, and together with a brother and three sisters, grew up in Albion, Michigan. His father was a professor of political science at Albion College.
Thomas "Tommy" Gold died of heart disease at Cayuga Medical Center, Ithaca NY on 22 June 2004 at the age of 84. He will be remembered as one of the most interesting, dynamic and influential scientists of his generation. Tommy's paradigm-changing ideas in astronomy and planetary science, while original and bold, were also highly controversial. With his radical work on the origin of natural gas and petroleum, the controversy is likely to continue.
Professionals and friends knew him as Captain Bob; he was the captain of his airplane, Birdie, and of his observatory, Braeside. He was a man of many talents, and he incorporated those talents into his two main passions in life: flying planes and doing astronomical research.
Richard Joseph Elston, known for his development of innovative astronomical instrumentation, died on 26 January 2004 in Gainesville, Florida, after a four-year battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma. A professor of astronomy at the University of Florida, Richard had an unusually broad range of interests and skills, and a willingness to share his passion for astronomy with others, which made him a highly valued member of the astronomical community.
Julena Steinheider Duncombe died on 13 September 2003, just eight days before her 92nd birthday.
Thomas M. Donahue, one of the nation's leading space and planetary scientists and a pioneer of space exploration, died Saturday October 16, 2004, from complications following heart surgery. The Edward H. White II Distinguished University Professor of Planetary Science at the University of Michigan, Tom shaped space exploration through his scientific achievements and policy positions. His work started with the first use of sounding rockets following World War II and continued for almost 60 years.
It is with deep sadness and regret that we note the passing of our dear friend and colleague Prof. Lynne K. Deutsch. Lynne died on 2 April 2004 after a protracted illness and lengthy battle with complications caused by the blood disease Polycythaemia Vera.
Professor Leverett Davis Jr., Professor of theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology, died on June 15, 2003 after a long illness. He was 89 years old. He contributed many important ideas and concepts to theoretical astrophysics and was a pioneer in the in situ scientific exploration of space using observations from spacecraft.
Joseph W. Chamberlain died at home with his family on April 14 2004 after a long illness. He was born August 24, 1928 and raised in Boonville, Missouri, where his father was the doctor. There was no doubt that both Joe and his elder brother Gilbert would also become doctors, but Joe's first class in comparative anatomy at the University of Missouri convinced him that this was not his destiny and he immediately switched to physics and astronomy.
David Fulmer Bender died in San Diego, California, on 13 September 2004, at the age of 91. His heart stopped suddenly while he was dancing. His pioneering work in establishing comprehensive, computer-accessible ephemerides of asteroids and comets found many applications, including the first-ever visit to an asteroid, Gaspra, by an interplanetary spacecraft.
Dick Walker, 67, died 30 March 2005 in Flagstaff, AZ, following a long illness. He was born on 9 March 1938 in Hampton, Iowa and grew up in Waterloo, Iowa.
As a child, Dick was fascinated with astronomy and built his own telescope. He saved his pennies and bought and read every book on the subject he could find. He also raised pigeons, naming four of them Hertzsprung, Hoyle, Gamow, and Kron.
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.
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.