David Todd Wilkinson died on 5 September 2002. He had battled cancer for seventeen years. His role in the measurements of the thermal cosmic background radiation (the CMB) was key to the completion of the program of cosmological tests that began around the time of his birth in the 1930s.
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David Q. Wark, a research meteorologist at the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA/NESDIS) and its predecessor organizations for 55 years, died of cancer 30 July 2002. He will be long remembered for his seminal contributions to the weather satellite program.
Leon Van Speybroeck, a master designer of X-ray telescope mirrors and the telescope scientist for the Chandra X-ray Observatory, died in Newton, Massachusetts, on 25 December 2002, shortly after learning that he had metastatic melanoma. Leon was born on 27 August 1935 in Wichita, Kansas. His father, Paul, was Assistant Treasurer and head of the accounting department at Beech Aircraft, and his mother, Anna Florence (Utley), was a homemaker. Both parents died in 1996. Leon's younger sister, Saundra, is a nurse and his younger brother, John, is a surgeon.
Anne was born in Vancouver, British Columbia on 12 June 1920. Her parents were Frederic Clare Underhill, a civil engineer and Irene Anna (née Creery) Underhill. She had a twin brother and three younger brothers. As a young girl she was active in Girl Guides and graduated from high school winning the Lieutenant Governor's medal as one of the top students in the Province. She also excelled in high school sports. Her mother died when Anne was 18 and, while undertaking her university studies, Anne assisted in raising her younger brothers.
Roland Svensson was found dead on 8 April 2003. He succumbed to the complications arising from diabetes. His contribution to the understanding of the basic properties of relativistic plasmas remains a cornerstone when studying radiation processes in many astrophysical contexts.
Douglas H. Sampson, a renowned theoretical atomic physicist and a professor emeritus of astronomy and astrophysics at The Pennsylvania State University, passed away on 8 December 2002, in State College, Pennsylvania, of a hemorrhagic stroke. He had retired in 1997 after 32 years of service to the University and had maintained an active research program up to the day of his death.
Grote Reber, a pioneer of radio astronomy, died in Tasmania, Australia on 20 December 2002, two days before his 91st birthday. Reber was born in Chicago on 22 December 1911 and grew up in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton, IL. His father, Schuyler Colefax Reber, who was a lawyer and part owner of a canning factory, died when Grote was only 21; his mother, Harriet Grote was an elementary school teacher in Wheaton. Among her 7th and 8th grade students at Longfellow School in Wheaton was young Edwin Hubble with whom Grote later exchanged views on cosmology.
Harrison Edward "Harry" Radford, a noted laboratory spectroscopist and pioneer in the application of magnetic resonance techniques to spectroscopy, died on 5 May 2000, after a long battle with amyotropic lateral sclerosis (ALS). During a 37-year career at the National Bureau of Standards and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Harry measured the frequencies of numerous molecular transitions which aided the emerging field of astrochemistry.
Dr. Dianne Kasnic Prinz died 12 October 2002 at the Hospice of Northern Virginia after a long struggle with lymphatic cancer. She worked for over 29 years until retirement at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC on sounding rocket, space shuttle, and satellite experiments to observe the Sun at ultraviolet wavelengths from space.
Ludwig Friedrich Oster died at the Anchorage Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Salisbury, MD on 28 February 2003, of complications from advanced Alzheimer's disease. He is survived by his wife Cheryl M. (Oroian) and his two children by a previous marriage, Ulrika and Mattias Oster. He had a distinguished career both as a researcher in solar physics and as a science administrator in the National Science Foundation.
Theodor Jacobsen, oldest member of the American Astronomical Society, died in Seattle on 17 July 2003 at the age of 102. His astronomical career, which began in the 1920's, coincided with the rise of astronomy in the University of Washington from a one-man activity within mathematics to today's major astronomical department of more than 30 faculty and other research personnel.
Public perceptions of human prehistory were transformed in the 1960s by astronomer Gerald Stanley Hawkins, who died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack on 26 May 2003 at Hawkridge Farm, in Virginia, near Washington, D.C. His astronomical analysis of Stonehenge, first published in "Nature" on 26 October 1963, and subsequently developed and framed with historical and cultural context in a best-selling book, "Stonehenge Decoded" (1965, in collaboration with John B.
On the 21 October 2002, with the death of Jesse Greenstein, many of us in astronomy lost a beloved adopted father and astronomy lost one of its most influential leaders of the postwar era. Truly a giant is gone; it is easy to say that they don't make the likes of Greenstein, Spitzer, and Scharwarzschild any more, but it is unfortunately only the truth. The field has changed and grown enormously in the more than 50 years spanned by Jesse's career with no small part of this traceable directly to his efforts.
With the passing of Gary Grasdalen on 30 April 2003 the astronomical community has lost one its most creative members. Born in Albert Lea, Minnesota on 7 October 1945 to the farming family of Lars G. and Lillie Grasdalen, Gary developed a strong childhood interest in science, and a particular fascination with astronomy. In 1964, he entered Harvard College intending to pursue those interests.
Preston F. Gott, Professor Emeritus of Physics and former Director of the Observatories at Texas Tech University, died 13 January 2002 after a bout with Cancer. Mr. Gott was born 21 November 1919 in Waxahachie (Ellis County) Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. His first wife, Edna Maynard Gott, passed away in 1986; their two children are Eugene Willard Gott and Edith Suzanne Gott. After his retirement from Texas Tech University in 1989, he married Orene Whitcomb Peddicord, M.D.
Robert Fleischer was born 20 August 1918 to Leon and Rose Fleischer in Flushing, NY. He was educated at Harvard, receiving his BS in 1940, MA in 1947, and PhD in 1949. He specialized in geophysics and solar-terrestrial relations. Fleischer joined the faculty at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute advancing from Assistant to Full professor in 1958. As Director of the RPI Observatory, Fleischer attempted to bring modern astronomy to the institutions in the Albany area by procuring the funds to build a radio telescope.
On 24 March 2002, the solar physicist Sidney Edelson died in Santa Barbara, California. Sidney was born in Brooklyn NY on 24 August 1916 to Benjamin and Sarah Edelson. His father worked in the garment industry. He obtained his BA from Brooklyn College (1938) and a MA from New York University (1949). He entered Georgetown University in 1950 and received both a MA (1953) and PhD (1961). His PhD thesis was entitled ``A Study of Long and Short Term Variations in Solar Radiation at Radio and Optical Wavelengths."
Ernest H. Cherrington, Jr., a long-time member of the AAS, died in San Jose, California on 13 July 1996, following a long illness. He had a short but active career as a research astronomer at Perkins Observatory at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio before World War II, in which he served as an officer in the Army Air Force. After the war ended he turned to full-time teaching and administration at the University of Akron, and then at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland.
William Buscombe, an emeritus professor at Northwestern University, died from a massive stroke on 13 March 2003. He was a stellar spectroscopist and was working on the 16th edition of his catalog, entitled ``MK Spectral Classifications" at the time of his death.
Franklyn Mansfield Branley was born in New Rochelle, New York, 5 June 1915, and died of natural causes in Brunswick, Maine, on 5 May 2002, just one month before his 87th birthday. He will be remembered by the hundreds of grateful students he so skillfully introduced to astronomy.