Nolan R. Walborn

Nolan R. Walborn

United States



Nolan Walborn- in memory

Dear Members of the G2 Commission,

It is with deep sadness that we have come to learn that one of the giants in our field, our colleague and friend Nolan Walborn, passed away on the night of 21 to 22 february 2018.

Nolan received his PhD from the University of Chicago under the supervision of W.W. Morgan, followed by postdoctoral positions in Toronto and at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in La Serena. This allowed him to renew his links to the Latin American culture, to which he had strong ties, as he spent several years in Argentina as a child. After Cerro Tololo and a short stint at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, he joined the Space Telescope Science Institute in 1984, where he remained working until the very last moment.

He was a very active member of our community and a strong advocate of hot stars, to which he dedicated his professional life with true passion. He always found those objects extremely interesting, and anyone talking to him was immediately caught by his enthusiasm. His pioneering work on spectral properties and classification of hot, massive stars, both in the optical and ultraviolet, are a primary reference and his contributions set a high standard in the field. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, the IAU approved to name Minor Planet 25942 after him.

It is without doubt an immense loss for our community - and we will deeply miss him.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and his loved ones he left behind during this difficult time.

The Organizing Committee of the Massive Stars Commission
Artemio Herrero, Jorick Vink, Nicole St.-Louis, Asif ud-Doula, You-Hua Chu, Gregor Rauw, Jose Groh

Minor Planet Named for Nolan Walborn:

Minor Planet 25942: ""Nolan R. Walborn (b. 1944) is a stellar spectroscopist specializing in the optical and ultraviolet morphology of hot, massive stars, such as O and B, Wolf-Rayet, and Luminous Blue Variables. His studies have included star forming regions in the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds.” Minor Planet 25942 Walborn is a main-belt asteroid, with a period of 5.43 years, an orbital eccentricity of 0.21, and a probable size of about 8 km.

Past affiliation(s) within the IAU

  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 45 Stellar Classification (1991-1994)
  • Past Organizing Committee Member of Commission 45 Stellar Classification (1988-1991)
  • Past Member of Division IV Stars (until 2012)
  • Past Member of Division G Stars and Stellar Physics (until 2018)
  • Past Member of Division H Interstellar Matter and Local Universe (until 2018)
  • Past Member of Commission G2 Massive Stars (2015-2018)
  • Past Member of Commission G3 Stellar Evolution (2015-2018)
  • Past Member of Commission G5 Stellar and Planetary Atmospheres (2015-2018)
  • Past Member of Commission 45 Stellar Classification (until 2015)
  • Past Member of Division G WG Active B Stars (until 2018)

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