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Fwd: [alllpl] Tom Gehrels, 1925-2011

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  • Richard A. Kowalski
    I m saddened to forward this news to the rest of you. Richard A. Kowalski Catalina Sky Survey Lunar & Planetary Laboratory University of Arizona Tucson,
    Message 1 of 7 , Jul 11 7:05 PM
      I'm saddened to forward this news to the rest of you.


      Richard A. Kowalski
      Catalina Sky Survey
      Lunar & Planetary Laboratory
      University of Arizona
      Tucson, Arizona

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


      Folks - it is with great sadness that I must report to you that Tom
      Gehrels passed away peacefully at his home this evening, July 11, 2011.
      More information will be released by the family in due course.

      Tom will be sorely missed.

      Sadly -- Mike

      Michael J. Drake
      OSIRIS-REx Principal Investigator
      Head and Director
      Department of Planetary Sciences
      Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
      Regents' Professor
      Director, Arizona Space Grant Consortium
      University of Arizona
      Tucson, AZ 85721-0092
    • Brian Skiff
      ... I m sure there ll be more to follow, but I wanted to mention a couple of things. Gehrels formal publications extend from 1956 to 2010, starting with a
      Message 2 of 7 , Jul 11 7:48 PM
        On Mon, 2011-07-11 at 19:05 -0700, Richard A. Kowalski wrote:
        > I'm saddened to forward this news to the rest of you.


        I'm sure there'll be more to follow, but I wanted to mention
        a couple of things. Gehrels' formal publications extend from
        1956 to 2010, starting with a lightcurve of 20 Massalia. There
        was obviously much observing before that related to the McDonald
        survey, and soon afterwards the Indiana asteroid program, and
        what I call the "T-zero" Trojan survey using cameras in South Africa
        in 1957 (we have all the Indiana and South Africa plates archived at
        Lowell), the Palomar-Leiden surveys, and Spacewatch.
        I'm pretty sure Tom can be credited with inventing the
        book-conference, that is, organizing a conference whose purpose
        was to prepare a book summarizing the state of a subject, now famous
        as the University of Arizona Press "blue bricks", though no longer
        always blue or brick-like (e.g. "Asteroids III"), but which remain
        authoritative.
        His early life is described in his autobiography "Upon the
        Glassy Sea", notably his time in the Dutch Resistance during the
        second World War.
        Bravo on a fully-lived life!

        \Brian
      • RICHARD MILES
        Thanks for your immediate reflections, Brian. Tom has been a steadfast inspiration for many of us over the years and this news is the last thing I wanted to
        Message 3 of 7 , Jul 12 5:16 AM
          Thanks for your immediate reflections, Brian.

          Tom has been a steadfast inspiration for many of us over the years and this
          news is the last thing I wanted to hear.

          By the way, his formal publications extended into 2011 with his privately
          published book, "Can We Do Without The Big Bang?" That was unfinished
          business as far as I was concerned having recently exchanged e-mails with
          him up until some 10 weeks ago. Now I shalln't have that opportunity to get
          back to him on some of the points he raises in the book - a great shame.

          He also produced a related publication in April entitled, "Universal
          Evolution", which is available here:
          http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/~tgehrels/papers-2011-04/CMR.pdf

          I do recommend reading his autobiography published in 1988 and which takes
          it's title, "On the Glassy Sea: an Astronomer's Journey" from Milton's
          Paradise Lost. I was hoping he would update the autobiography sometime
          soon. Again, now not to be. What a pity.

          Goodbye Tom ... it was great knowing you,
          Richard


          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Brian Skiff" <bas@...>
          To: "Richard A. Kowalski" <kowalski@...>
          Cc: "MPML" <mpml@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 2:48 AM
          Subject: Re: {MPML} Fwd: [alllpl] Tom Gehrels, 1925-2011


          >
          > On Mon, 2011-07-11 at 19:05 -0700, Richard A. Kowalski wrote:
          >> I'm saddened to forward this news to the rest of you.
          >
          >
          > I'm sure there'll be more to follow, but I wanted to mention
          > a couple of things. Gehrels' formal publications extend from
          > 1956 to 2010, starting with a lightcurve of 20 Massalia. There
          > was obviously much observing before that related to the McDonald
          > survey, and soon afterwards the Indiana asteroid program, and
          > what I call the "T-zero" Trojan survey using cameras in South Africa
          > in 1957 (we have all the Indiana and South Africa plates archived at
          > Lowell), the Palomar-Leiden surveys, and Spacewatch.
          > I'm pretty sure Tom can be credited with inventing the
          > book-conference, that is, organizing a conference whose purpose
          > was to prepare a book summarizing the state of a subject, now famous
          > as the University of Arizona Press "blue bricks", though no longer
          > always blue or brick-like (e.g. "Asteroids III"), but which remain
          > authoritative.
          > His early life is described in his autobiography "Upon the
          > Glassy Sea", notably his time in the Dutch Resistance during the
          > second World War.
          > Bravo on a fully-lived life!
          >
          > \Brian
        • RICHARD MILES
          Postscript - Further to my earlier note, it looks like Tom did update his autobiography in the form of the title, On the Glassy Sea, in Search of a Worldview
          Message 4 of 7 , Jul 12 6:24 AM
            Postscript - Further to my earlier note, it looks like Tom did update his
            autobiography in the form of the title, "On the Glassy Sea, in Search of a
            Worldview" published in 2007.

            See also:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Gehrels

            Richard
          • Govert Schilling
            here s my blog post remembering tom gehrels (on www.skyandtelescope.com): http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/125432648.html ... govert schilling
            Message 5 of 7 , Jul 12 1:18 PM
              here's my blog post 'remembering tom gehrels' (on www.skyandtelescope.com):

              http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/125432648.html
              ----------------------------------
              govert schilling
              bloemendalsestraat 32
              3811 es amersfoort
              the netherlands
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              e: mail@...
              w: http://allesoversterrenkunde.nl <http://allesoversterrenkunde.nl/>
              t: +31-33-4700595 (work)
              +31-33-4700525 (home)
              m: +31-655-877287
              http://twitter.com/goverttweets
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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Alan Harris
              ... Thanks for that post, a very nice and touching. I have known Tom since 1978, or possibly even sooner, and last had the pleasure of a long visit with him
              Message 6 of 7 , Jul 12 2:09 PM
                At 01:18 PM 7/12/2011, Govert Schilling wrote:
                >here's my blog post 'remembering tom gehrels'

                Thanks for that post, a very nice and touching. I have known Tom since
                1978, or possibly even sooner, and last had the pleasure of a long visit
                with him in his office just the month before you, in March. I'm so glad to
                have had that visit, although of course sad that it will be the last. He
                will be warmly remembered by many of us.

                Alan

                *******************************************************************
                Alan W. Harris
                Senior Research Scientist
                Space Science Institute
                4603 Orange Knoll Ave. Phone: 818-790-8291
                La Canada, CA 91011-3364 email: awharris@...
                *******************************************************************
              • dfischer@astro.uni-bonn.de
                ... My most lasting memory of Tom is a public talk he gave many years ago; I ve forgotten the year and the occasion, probably an amateur astronomers
                Message 7 of 7 , Jul 18 4:31 AM
                  > I have known Tom since 1978 [...]. He
                  > will be warmly remembered by many of us.

                  My most lasting memory of Tom is a public talk he gave many years ago;
                  I've forgotten the year and the occasion, probably an amateur astronomers'
                  conference somewhere in the U.S. There he described how the funding for
                  the 2nd, larger Spacewatch telescope was secured (it hadn't been built at
                  the time), namely with important contributions by private donations. Tom
                  had great fun telling the story of a man who gave him cheques with
                  substantial amounts repeatedly - but only under the condition that Tom
                  wouldn't tell his wife under all circumstances. Wonder if that was ever
                  written down somewhere ...

                  What all obituaries I've seen so far also miss (but the English Wikipedia
                  entry mentions) is Tom's fierce fight against those - esp. in the U.S. -
                  who adored Wernher von Braun. This made him known even outside of
                  astronomy; I think I saw him once in a TV documentary on the V2 production
                  at the Dora Camp, opposing the view that von Braun knew nothing about the
                  horrors there. Whether he had any inside knowledge I don't know, but his
                  public statements in this regard are surely part of his most colorful
                  life.

                  Talking about color, it was duly noted that Tom was the PI of the Imaging
                  Photopolarimeters on board of the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft. And guess
                  what: Just now a paper - http://arxiv.org/abs/1106.4413 - has come out
                  analyzing these data anew and drawing far-reaching (literally) conclusions
                  from them regarding cosmic background radiations in the visible. For which
                  these old data are still the gold standard. Talk about a man's legacy ...

                  Dan

                  Dan
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