Saturday, September 04, 2004
I'm late learning this, but Fred Whipple passed away on August 30th at the age of 97. He was best-known for his work on comets, and played an important role in U.S. astronomy as director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (now merged with the Harvard College Observatory to form the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics). I met him a couple of times as a graduate student in the Harvard Astronomy Department; he was a warm and friendly spirit as well as a major figure in astrophysics.
Update: My Ph.D. advisor, George Field, was close friends with Whipple. George mentions with pride how the speakers at the funeral stressed Whipple's atheism.