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Lyman Spitzer, Jr. (1914-1997)

[Lyman Spitzer, Jr. image]

Photo courtesy of Princeton University

Lyman Spitzer, Jr. the principal investigator for the Princeton Experiment Package on the Copernicus satellite, passed away suddenly on March 31, 1997 at the age of 82.

Lyman Spitzer influenced several generations of astronomers and physicists through his lectures, research, and writings. Those of us who were fortunate enough to meet and talk to Lyman Spitzer will never forget him. While one was immediately struck by his extraordinary knowledge and keen physical intuition, one could not fail to be impressed by his kindness and good spirit.

He was the founder and first director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, the leader of the group that developed the Copernicus satellite, and the vision behind the development of the Hubble Space Telescope. A brief summary of some of his many accomplishments can be found in the Princeton University Press Release on his death; a wonderful autobiographical sketch of the man and his life can be found in Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics volume 27 (1989). Those wishing to learn more should read the book Dreams, Stars, and Electrons : Selected Writings of Lyman Spitzer, Jr., which was just published by the Princeton University Press.

Selected Bibliography

  • Physics of Fully Ionized Gases, Lyman Spitzer, Jr. [1956, 1962], New York: Wiley-Interscience. 1st, 2nd ed.
  • Diffuse Matter in Space, Lyman Spitzer, Jr. [1968], New York: Wiley-Interscience
  • Physical Processes in the Interstellar Medium, Lyman Spitzer, Jr. [1978] New York: Wiley
  • Searching Between the Stars, Lyman Spitzer, Jr. [1982], New Haven, Conn: Yale Univ. Press
  • Dynamical Evolution of Globular Clusters, Lyman Spitzer, Jr. [1982] Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
  • Dreams, Stars, and Electrons : Selected Writings of Lyman Spitzer, Jr., edited by Lyman Spitzer, Jr. & Jeremiah P. Ostriker [1997], Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press

Recent Publications of Lyman Spitzer, Jr.

Material compiled by jtl.