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Michael E. Cahill (1942–2020)

Cahill was best known for his work in general relativity and statistical mechanics.

Published onOct 02, 2022
Michael E. Cahill (1942–2020)

Photo credit: Informed Choice.

Michael Edward “Mike” Cahill, of West Bend, Wisconsin, loving husband, father, grandfather, and brother, passed away from complications of pneumonia on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. He was 77.

Mike was a professor of astronomy and physics at the University of Wisconsin Washington County. Raised in Parkchester in the Bronx, his passion for science manifested itself in such experiments as seeing if he could make the elevator in his apartment building vibrate sufficiently to force an emergency stop.

He earned a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Illinois-Urbana (“Einstein’s Equations of General Relativity for a Spherical Symmetry and the Mass Function”) and conducted research in general relativity for much of his career. He also published several papers in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. Some of the latter research was applied to models of globular clusters.

Following a post-doctoral fellowship to Berkeley, Cahill moved to West Bend, Wisconsin, with his wife Rotraut in 1974. He loved working with students and teaching. Mike was a strong advocate of equal opportunity for spouses, deciding to move to West Bend because both he and his wife had opportunities at the University of Wisconsin Washington County (UWWC) campus.

After retirement, Cahil devoted his energy to finding new methods to describe the distribution of the Trojan asteroids.

Some Mike facts: he managed the often daunting challenges of being bipolar; would go out of his way to seek help for a wounded animal; happily shared amazing fat-free cheesecakes and delicious spaghetti sauce; marched in Viet Nam War protests in Berkeley; worked as a volunteer Dispatcher for the Red Cross; gave numerous sky shows to community groups; delighted in picnics and the annual “guess the gadget” New Year’s Day game with John and Jeannine Becker and in Thanksgiving Day dinners with Richard and Sheryl Smith; enjoyed long talks with his brother John and get-togethers with in-laws Judy and Cialino Rea.

Mike is survived by his wife, Ro, his sons Avery and Yeoung, his brother, John, and his grandson, Nicholas. Mike was a fantastic father and a loving “Opa” and Father-In-Law to Nick and Jennifer, respectively. No husband could have been more caring or supportive.

Mike succumbed to recurrent bouts of pneumonia after three terrible months of separation from his loved ones because of COVID. May he have found peace.

Adapted and reproduced with permission of the author from The Informed Choice obituary. Additional information about Cahill can be found at the UWM website.

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