Robert McCracken, a retired optical-electronics engineer and nuclear researcher with the former National Bureau of Standards (NBS) and the U.S. Army Harry Diamond Laboratories (HDL), trustee and past president of the National Capital Astronomers, Inc. (NCA), founder and past president of the Hopewell Corporation and Observatory, and past president of the Washington Academy of Sciences (WAS), died on 1996 May 28 after a long battle with cancer.
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Margaret Walton was born in Iron Hill, Maryland, on 27 January 1902, and died of congestive heart failure in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on 6 December 1995. The northern lights and Halley's comet in 1910 stimulated her early interest in astronomy. She graduated from Swarthmore College in January 1925, where L. J. Comrie encouraged her to seek employment at Harvard Observatory. There she worked for Annie J. Cannon, helping with the determination of magnitudes of stars in the Henry Draper Extension and became familiar with the HD system of spectral classification.
Many astronomers remember Harold Lane for his untiring service to our community at the National Science Foundation's Astronomy Section. Lane had been interested in astronomy from his early childhood. Son of a construction contractor in Barre, Vermont, he and relatives were amateur astronomers, building a telescope together and attending the annual Springfield star party known as Stellafane.
Robert King was born in Pasadena on 6 June 1908, the elder of two sons of Arthur Scott King (1876-1957), a noted laboratory spectroscopist who was superintendent of the Physical Laboratory at Mount Wilson Observatory (MWO) from 1908 until 1943. Bob therefore came into contact with astronomers during visits to his father's laboratory and developed a natural appreciation for the activities and lifestyle at a major scientific research institution.
Luigi Jacchia, a former Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) physicist and a distinguished researcher, whose analysis of density fluctuations in the Earth's upper atmosphere was one of the first scientific triumphs of the space age, died 8 May 1996 after a long illness. He was 85.
Sarah Hill, professor emeritus of astronomy at Wellesley College, died of natural causes on 13 February 1996 in her home in Natick at age 86 years. Born in 1909 in Concord, New Hampshire, Professor Hill was an eminent astronomer and an inspiring teacher to dozens of young women, many of whom are now prominent scientists and astronomers in their own right.
LeRoy Doggett, Head of the Nautical Almanac Office at the U.S. Naval Observatory, died peacefully on 16 April 1996, after a battle with cancer. He was an expert in celestial mechanics, ancient and contemporary calendar systems, astronomical phenomena and history of astronomy as well as archaeoastronomy. For the last 20 years, he compiled and edited The Astronomical Almanac, the world standard authority for the precise determination of astronomical events and positions of celestial objects. He was also responsible for the Nautical Almanac and the Air Almanac.
Gerard de Vaucouleurs was born on 25 April 1918 in Paris. He became interested in astronomy in 1932 when his mother bought him a small telescope, and, after reading books by Th. Moreux, he decided he wanted to be a professional astronomer. He received his BSc in 1936 from the Lycee Charlemagne in Paris, and went to the University of Paris (the Sorbonne) from 1937-1939 for training in physics, astronomy, and mathematics.
Ganesar Chanmugam, an internationally respected astrophysicist and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Louisiana State University, died on 25 March 1996 of complications following a bone marrow transplant in his long battle with Multiple Myeloma.
On 21 August 1995, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar died of heart failure at age 84. Obituary notices were carried by newspapers, journals of general science and by most specialist journals in astronomy and astrophysics. Representative examples include: "1983 Physics Nobelist S. Chandrasekhar Is Dead At Age 84," by Neeraja Sankaran, The Scientist 9:17 (18 September 1995); "Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910-1995)," by R. Nityananda, Current Science 69: 554-556 (1995); and "Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910-1995)," by D.
Robert Chambers, Director of Brackett Observatory and professor of astronomy at Pomona College, was born on 23 September 1930. After graduating from the University of Washington in mechanical engineering, he served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War before entering graduate work in astronomy at Berkeley, where he received his PhD in 1964.
Jason Cardelli died suddenly of a heart attack on May 14 at age 40 at the peak of his scientific career, a tragedy for family, friends and for our field. He is survived by his wife, Julia Mantle, brothers, James and John, sister, Laura, and his parents Aldo and Marilyn.
Jason was born on 1 December 1955 in Berwyn, lliinois and knew that he wanted to become an astronomer from the time he was in elementary school. He received his BS in astronomy from the University of Illinois in 1978 and his PhD in astronomy from the University of Washington in 1985.
Charles Worley, Astronomer at the US Naval Observatory, died unexpectedly on December 31, 1997, after a short illness. He was born on May 22, 1935 in Iowa City, Iowa, and grew up in Des Moines, where his father was a doctor. He became interested in astronomy at age nine. His first observational work as an amateur astronomer was the plotting and recording of more than 10,000 meteors for the American Meteor Society. Continuing his love for astronomy, Worley attended Swarthmore College, where he took part in the parallax program and met the other love of his life, his wife Jane.
On December 10, 1997, the day before he was going to be 82, Frank Bradshaw (Brad) Wood passed away in Gainesville, Florida. With Brad, the world has lost one of the most outstanding astronomers of the present century in the field of close binaries.
On January 4, 1998, Dr. Robert L. Wildey, Professor of Mathematical Physics at Northern Arizona University (NAU) passed away unexpectedly in Flagstaff, Arizona. He had been a member of the Physics and Astronomy faculty since 1981.
John Wang, Assistant Professor of Astronomy at the University of Maryland, died in August 1998 in a hiking accident in Colorado. He was 38 years old.
Victor G. Szebehely, who held the Richard B. Curran Centennial Chair in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, died at his home on September 13, 1997, from cancer.
David N. Schramm was born on October 25, 1945, in St. Louis, Missouri and died December 19, 1997, when the plane he was piloting crashed near Byers, Colorado. He was en route to a family gathering in Aspen for the holidays. He was one of the most influential astrophysicists of his generation, and we will miss him.
Alexander W. (Alex) Rodgers, internationally known astrophysicist and professor of astronomy at the Australian National University (ANU) died on October 10, 1997, just weeks short of his scheduled retirement. He is survived by his wife, Ruth, and three children.
Barry Rappaport undertook an amazingly diverse range of endeavors during his all-too-brief professional career. Yet from each could be traced his passion for astronomy and for helping others.
The son of Jean and Walter Rappaport, Barry was born in Brooklyn, New York and attended Solomon Schechter Day School in West Orange, New Jersey. In 1982, he was the only student at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) to graduate with an undergraduate major in astronomy.