John P. Oliver, an emeritus professor of astronomy at the University of Florida in Gainesville, passed away Thursday, February 10, 2011, after a courageous and long battle with renal cancer. He left behind memories of a life and career to envy. During his forty years of service to his profession and department, this unique astronomer distinguished himself as a research scientist and instrumentalist, creative software designer, gifted teacher and speaker, a vocal advocate of public outreach, and friend to all who knew him.
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The name of Carl Alvar Wirtanen will always be recognized as the second member of the hyphenated name pair "Shane-Wirtanen" designating the well-known Lick survey for galaxies. He was born on 11 November 1910 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he attended the local public schools. He was attracted to astronomy at age 12 when his violin teacher brought him to a local observatory to view stars through a telescope. This led him to make his own reflecting telescope and deepen further his interest in astronomy.
A. J. J. van Woerkom, known to his friends as "Jos", died on July 8, 1991, at the age of 75 in Yale-New Haven Hospital after a brief illness. From 1972 to 1990 he was Chief Scientist in the Office of the Technical Director of the Naval Underwater Systems Center in New London, Connecticut. Prior to that he served for 16 years at the Electric Boat Company as technical director and later program manager of primary research efforts which underlie present submarine integrated combat systems.
Katsuo Tanaka was born in 1943 in Tokyo to a prosperous family who encouraged him in the difficult preparation for Tokyo University. He completed undergraduate and graduate studies there, working on radiative transfer and line formation. He obtained his Ph.D degree in 1971 for study of chromospheric spectra from the 1966 eclipse in Peru, working under Prof. Z. Suemoto.
James Stokley, native of Philadelphia, died December 29, 1989, at age 89. Best known as a science popularizer, in 1925 Stokley started a 53-year association with Science Service. From 1926 to 1977 its "Science News" magazine featured his regular column describing events in the night sky. Author of seven books, his most successful were "Atoms to Galaxies" and ''Electrons in Action."
Charlotte Moore Sitterly was born in Ercildoun, Pennsylvania. Her parents were both teachers and her father was the superintendent of schools in Chester county for many years. She was the youngest of four children, one boy and three girls. She and a sister two years older were very close. Well into her eighties, Charlotte drove to Pennsylvania on many weekends to be with her sister who was then in a nursing home. Her parents' interest in education had a strong influence on the family. The children played many educational games at home. Both sisters went into teaching.
Nicholas Sanduleak died of cardiac arrest on May 7, 1990, enroute to check in to a hospital for angina study. His death was the culmination of a decade-long history of heart trouble that began with a heart attack. Fortunately he did not suffer serious inconvenience after the initial attack until his final two years.
Laura H. McLaughlin was born before Kitty Hawk and lived to see men walk on the Moon and Halley's Comet come a second time. Born Laura E. Hill in Philadelphia, PA, Sept 3, 1893, she was raised in that city at the Methodist Home for Children from the age of six. With the help of that Home, she attended Northwestern University, the first from that Home ever to attend college.
Those of us who, for whatever reason, have had the good fortune to achieve some success in life have a clear obligation to make our talent available to the scientific and other institutions, including the government, if asked, for the good of all our colleagues and fellow citizens.
Ralph F. Haupt was born March 4, 1906 in Peabody, Kansas. He joined the U. S. Naval Observatory's Nine-Inch Transit Circle Division in 1928. In 1934, he transferred to the Nautical Almanac Office, where he became Assistant Director of Production in 1959 and Assistant Director in 1963. He retired in 1973.
Henry F. Donner, born in Wilson, New York on September 1, 1902, died January 25, 1991 from heart disease. He discovered more than 1100 double stars between 1927 and 1933 at the University of Michigan's Lamont-Hussey Observatory in Bloemfontain, South Africa, where he worked under W. J. Hussey. He obtained a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1925, a Master's in astronomy in 1927, and a doctorate in geology in 1936.
Wallace R. Beardsley (June 4, 1922-March 16, 1991) attended the University of Washington, where T. S. Jacobsen apparently first taught him astronomy, though his bachelor's degrees were in mathematics and physics (1948). In 1950 he began his studies at the Yerkes Observatory. Departure of his thesis adviser in 1953 evidently led to his taking a position at the Allegheny Observatory that year, and to a delay in receiving the Yerkes S.M. degree (1960). His research interests centered on astrometric and spectroscopic observations of a variety of binary stars.
Dr. Alan Hildreth Barrett, Professor Emeritus of Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, died on July 3, 1991, in Denver, Colorado, of cancer.
Victor E. Thoren died on 9 March 1991 in Los Angeles, California of complications of Hodgkin's disease. He was one of the world's foremost historians of astronomy and the preeminent authority on the life and work of the great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546-1601).
Harlan J. Smith died on 17 October 1991 of complications related to cancer, two weeks after reluctantly postponing a trip to Hawaii. The optimistic enthusiasm and determination which characterized his entire life did not desert him at the end.
Walter Orr Roberts was born in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts on August 20, 1915, and died in Boulder, Colorado on March 12,1990, at age 74. In 1938 he was graduated from Amherst College in western Massachusetts and that year entered graduate school at Harvard. In 1940 he married Janet Smock, who was to be his wife for 50 years.
Marguerite Risley is remembered as a friendly, dignified and gracious lady, highly capable in both research and teaching. She was born in Wanakena, New York, on September 2, 1905, attended Syracuse University of Jamesville, New York, earning an A.B. in 1926 and A.M. in 1928. In 1942 she was awarded the Ph.D.degree at Radcliffe College. Meanwhile, in 1926-27, she taught high school at Shortsville, N.Y.
Ana Gomes Nash, an astronomer in the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Space Science Division and Associate Scientist of the Applied Research Corporation of Landover, Maryland, died suddenly on February 14, 1992.
John Merrill died on November 29, 1991 in Columbus, Ohio as a result of complications following a leg amputation made necessary by extreme peripheral vascular disease. He had been incapacitated by this condition for a number of years.
Merrill was born on May 10, 1902 in Parsonsfield, Maine. He received a Master's degree in Greek from Boston University in 1923, a Master's degree in mathematics at Case Institute of Technology in 1927. He then earned a Master's degree in mathematics at Princeton University in 1929, followed by a Ph.D. in astronomy in 1931.
Dr. Satoshi Matsushima, professor emeritus of astronomy at The Pennsylvania State University, died on January 31, 1992, at Columbia Hospital in New York City. Born on May 6, 1923, he was 68 years old. From 1976 to 1989, Dr. Matsushima served as Head of Penn State's Department of Astronomy. He succeeded Dr. John P. Hagen, founder of the Department, who died in 1990.