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Jorge Sahade (1915-2012), Past President of the IAU (1985-1988)

11 January 2013

Dr. Jorge Sahade, one of the most relevant Argentinean astronomers, passed away on 18 December, 2012, at the age of 97. He earned the first title as Surveyor at the University of Córdoba in 1937. In 1943 he received his PhD in Astronomy and Related Sciences at the University of La Plata. From 1943 to 1946 he was granted a scholarship in the Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago, where he worked under the supervision of Prof. Otto Struve. The well known Struve-Sahade effect in double-lined spectroscopic binary stars resulted from his research at those times. In 1955 he won a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in the Department of Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley. He was university professor in Argentina, England, Belgium, France, and Germany, and academician at the National Academies of Sciences of Buenos Aires and Córdoba and the Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences of Madrid, among others.

He was Vice-President of the IAU Executive Committee in two opportunities from 1967 to 1970 and from 1970 to 1973, becoming IAU President from 1985 to 1988. His activity at IAU was within Commissions 29 (Stellar Spectra), 42 (Close Binaries), 44 (Space and High Energy Astrophysics, and 46 (Astronomy Education and Development).

After being director of observatories and astronomy institutes in Argentina, he became the first President of the National Commission for Space Activities (Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales, CONAE) in 1991. He published around 200 papers and two books in subjects related to interacting binary systems and massive stars, among others. Argentina owes its largest optical telescope, which now bears his name, to his decision, effort, and perseverance.

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