Jack B. Zirker

United States



Dr Jack B. Zirker was born in 1927 (died January 9, 2022, age 94), and served in the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1947. He then studied Biomedical Engineering at City College of New York, and completed an MSc at New York University in 1953. The following year he went to Sacramento Peak as a summer student, and 1956 received a Ph.D. from Harvard University for a thesis on the temperature structure of the chromosphere and corona. He then worked at Sacramento Peak Observatory from 1956 to 1964, before moving to a Chair in Astronomy at the University of Hawaii. In 1976 Jack returned to Sunspot as Director of Sacramento Peak Observatory and in the early 1980s played a key role in the formation of the National Solar Observatory, where he was the Director until his retirement.

Jack’s research interests included mechanisms of coronal heating, the physics of proinences and their fine structure, flare mechanisms and energy distribution, and the use of non-redundant arrays for high-resolution imaging. Over the years he published more than one hundred research papers, and the following books: Total Eclipses of the Sun (Princeton University Press, 1984), Journey From the Center of the Sun (Princeton University Press, 2002), Sunquakes: Probing the Interior of the Sun (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), An Acre of Glass: A History and Forecast of the Telescope (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005), The Magnetic Universe: The Elusive Traces of an Invisible Force (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), and The Science of Ocean Waves: Ripples, Tsunamis, and Stormy Seas (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013).

Jack was retired and aged 93 when he wrote this short paper for the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the AAS’s Solar Physics Division. The photograph included here was cropped from a group photograph taken at the meeting of the PROM (Prominence Research Observations and Models) group that was held in Ottawa (Canada) in 1995.



Past affiliation(s) within the IAU

  • Past Member of Division E Sun and Heliosphere
  • Past Member of Commission 12 Solar Radiation & Structure (until 2015)
  • Past Member of Division II Sun & Heliosphere (until 2012)

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