Obituaries Listing

Obituaries of Society members are published as a tribute and for future historians of science. The Vice-Chair of the Historical Astronomy Division (HAD) is responsible for commissioning and compiling the obituaries. We depend entirely on the network of astronomical colleagues, including astronomy department and observatory administrators, for notification when an astronomer has died.

To inform us of the death of an astronomer or to volunteer to write the obituary of a colleague please complete the Obituary Submission Form or contact the current HAD Vice-Chair or Crystal Tinch.

Oct 11, 2019

Nicholas Sanduleak

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…

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Oct 11, 2019

Ralph F. Haupt

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…

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Oct 11, 2019

Edward Leonard Fireman

Edward L. Fireman, a nuclear physicist and meteoriticist who specialized in research on cosmic rays, solar flares, muons, and neutrinos, died suddenly of a massive heart attack on March 29, 1990, a few days after his 68th birthday. Ed Fireman was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father, Nathan Fireman, had…

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Oct 11, 2019

Walter Orr Roberts

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…

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Oct 11, 2019

Carl Alvar Wirtanen

BACKGROUND 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…

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Oct 11, 2019

Charlotte Moore Sitterly

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…

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Oct 11, 2019

Richard Irwin Mitchell

Richard Irwin Mitchell, astronomer and mathematician, passed away on 5 February 1990, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after a long illness. He was the only child of Lawrence C. Mitchell and Helen (nèe Thompson) Mitchell and was born in Oakland, California on 1 February 1927. He went to Frick Jr. High…

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Oct 11, 2019

Katsuo Tanaka

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…

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Oct 11, 2019

James Stokley

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,…

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Oct 11, 2019

Serge Alexander Korff

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. This credo…

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