John N. Bahcall
John Norris Bahcall, 70, of Princeton, died August 17 in his sleep in New York City, surrounded by his family. He was the Richard Black Professor of Astrophysics in the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study, a recipient of the National Medal of Science, president of the American Astronomical Society, president-elect of the American Physical Society, and a prominent leader of the astrophysics community.
Born in Shreveport, La., he began his first year at Louisiana State University convinced he wanted to study philosophy and perhaps become a rabbi. He soon decided that physics, and eventually astronomy, best-suited a lifelong "quest for the truth." He transferred to the University of California at Berkeley, where he received his A.B. in 1956. He received an M.S. from the University of Chicago in 1957, and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1961. He was a Research Fellow at Indiana University before joining the faculty at Cal Tech, where he was strongly influenced by leading physics and astronomy luminaries such as Richard Feynman, Murray Gellman, and William Fowler.
Dr. Bahcall's long and prolific career in astronomy and astrophysics spanned five decades and the publication of more than 500 technical papers, books, and articles. He came to the Institute in 1968 as a Member. He was appointed to the faculty in 1971, and had served as the Richard Black Professor since 1997.
Director of the Institute Peter Goddard said, "John Bahcall was a true pioneer in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics. His contributions have had an indelible impact. Always generous with his time, he was an inspirational teacher and mentor who shaped the careers of a generation of scientists. His passing is deeply felt at the Institute."
Dr. Bahcall's most recognized scientific contribution was his proposal in 1964, together with Raymond Davis Jr., that scientific mysteries of our sun how it shines, how old it is, how hot it is could be examined by measuring the number of neutrinos arriving on earth from the sun. Neutrinos, elementary particles that travel at nearly the speed of light, are produced as by-products of the nuclear fusion reactions that power stars. Measuring their properties tests scientists' understanding of how stars shine and their understanding of fundamental particle physics.
Observations by Mr. Davis in the 1960s and 1970s revealed a clear discrepancy between Dr. Bahcall's predictions, based on standard solar and particle physics models, and what was measured experimentally. This discrepancy, known as the Solar Neutrino Puzzle, was examined by hundreds of physicists, chemists, and astronomers over the next three decades. In the 1990s new large-scale neutrino experiments in Japan, Italy, and Russia culminated in the conclusion that the discrepancy between Dr. Bahcall's predictions and experimental results required a modification of the understanding of particle physics: neutrinos must have a mass and oscillate between different particle states. Those results led to the 2004 Nobel Prize being awarded to the leaders of the American and Japanese neutrino experiments, Mr. Davis and Masatoshi Koshiba.
Dr. Bahcall contributed to many areas of astrophysics in addition to neutrino astrophysics, including the interpretation of quasar absorption lines, the study of dark matter in the universe, and the identification of the first neutron star companion.
He created the astronomy group at the Institute for Advanced Study, which became the leading training ground in the country for post-graduate researchers. He also helped establish the astronomy groups at the Weizmann Institute and Tel Aviv University of Israel, among others. He derived great pleasure from building a culture and community that attracted, encouraged, and stimulated the best young scientists.
A driving force in the astronomy and scientific community of the United States, Dr. Bahcall, together with Lyman Spitzer, led the effort to create the Hubble Space Telescope in the 1970s. He also chaired the National Academy of Science committee that created the decade roadmap for U.S. astronomy research, which came to be known as the Bahcall Report; and served as president of the American Astronomical Society from 1990 to 2002 and as president-elect of the American Physical society this past year. He was active in many areas of science policy relating to astronomy and physics, chairing numerous committees of the National Academy of Science, the U.S. National Committee of the International Astronomical Union and the National Underground Science Laboratory Committee, and advising or serving on Congressional committees.
His numerous awards and prizes included the 1998 National Medal of Science, the Hans Bethe Prize of the American Physical Society, the Dan David Prize of Israel, the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, the Fermi Award (with Raymond Davis), and the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics (with Raymond Davis and Masatoshi Koshiba). He received honorary doctorates from University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, University of Notre Dame, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the University of Milano. He had been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1976.
He is survived by his wife, Dr. Neta Bahcall, a professor of astrophysics at Princeton University; two sons, Dr. Safi Bahcall and Dr. Dan Bahcall; a daughter, Dr. Orli Bahcall; and a brother, Robert, of Baton Rouge, La.
Thomas Andrew Lies, 76, of Princeton, died August 16 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Rahway.
Born in Oak Park, Ill., he grew up in the Chicago suburb of Riverside. He became a resident of Montgomery Township in 1961.
He earned a B.S. degree from John Carroll University, an M.S. degree from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.
From 1951 to 1953, he served in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps at Bethesda, Md. He then worked as a research chemist with American Cyanamid Company in Princeton from 1959 to 1997.
An avid amateur winemaker who made wine from French grapes he grew in a vineyard behind his home, he also loved classical music, reading, gardening, woodworking, and travel. His family treasured his intelligence, wit, courage, and integrity.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Betty Bonham Lies; a daughter, Elaine Lies of Tokyo, Japan; a son, Brian of Duxbury, Mass.; a brother, Mark; and a sister, Mary Jo Cantwell.
Interment will be private. A memorial service is being planned for a later date.
Arrangements are under the direction of Kimble Funeral Home.
Memorial contributions may be made to Habitat for Humanity, 601 N. Clinton Avenue, Trenton 08638.
Mary Ellen McNulty, 69, of Princeton, died August 18 at the University Medical Center at Princeton.
Born in New York City, she had been a resident of Princeton since 1963.
A graduate of the College of New Rochelle, she was an adjunct instructor at Trenton State College. She retired in 1997 with 27 years of service as a teacher with the Lawrence Township Board of Education.
She was a member of St. Paul's Church.
Wife of the late Theodore P. McNulty, she is survived by a son, Theodore III of Lawrenceville; a brother, Michael Ahearn, and a sister, Patricia Sheerin, both of Southhampton, N.Y.; and two grandchildren.
The funeral service was held August 20 at The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Paul's Church, 214 Nassau Street, Princeton 08540.
Carolyn Witter Steenrod Rosenblum, 90, of Newtown, Pa., formerly of Princeton, died August 16.
Born in St. Louis, Mo., she was the daughter of Charles Witter and Katherine Janes Witter.
She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in Art and French, and a teaching certification. A gifted artist, she also earned a degree from the Art Institute of Chicago and worked for a time as a commercial artist in Chicago.
An animal lover, she met her first husband, Norman Steenrod, when she went to see his dog's new puppies. They eventually settled in Princeton, where Mr. Steenrod was a professor of mathematics at Princeton University.
In addition to raising her two children and caring for her aging mother in her home, she was active in many organizations, including the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, the Present Day Club, the University League, and the American Association of University Women.
An accomplished pianist, she enjoyed playing duets with Mr. Steenrod. They also shared interests in opera, bridge, tennis, and travel abroad. After Mr. Steenrod's death in 1971, she worked as a librarian in the Mathematics Library at Princeton University.
In 1973, she married Charles Rosenblum, a chemist at Merck Pharmaceuticals, who also taught at Princeton. He joined her interests with enthusiasm, singing as she played the piano, drawing alongside her in art classes, and accompanying her on sketching trips to Italy and other countries. They enjoyed their retirement together at Pennswood Village in Newtown. Throughout her life, she expressed her artistic creativity in art and music, but was always happiest when hostessing a gathering of those she loved.
She is survived by a daughter, Katherine Steenrod Goodson of Ann Arbor, Mich.; a son, Charles Lindsay Steenrod of Costa Mesa, Calif.; four stepchildren including Caroline Moseley of Princeton; four grandsons; and eight step-grandchildren.
Internment and a memorial service will take place at a later date in St. Louis.