Charles A. Whitney

Charles A. Whitney

United States



Dear Colleagues:

I am very sorry to report that our former colleague, Charles Whitney, passed away on May 22, 2017, following complications from a broken hip several weeks ago.

Chuck entered the Harvard graduate program in astronomy in 1951; he quickly passed the preliminary exams (having been an undergraduate at MIT) and completed his doctoral thesis on the physics of Cepheid variable stars in 1955.

He was soon recruited by the newly arrived Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to assist in the tracking program of the artificial satellites. Taking advantage of the power of the so-called high-speed computers, then unrivaled by any other astronomy facility, Chuck established a premier stellar atmospheres research group.

Chuck was affiliated with both Harvard (starting as lecturer in 1958, rising to full professor in 1968) and the Smithsonian (1955 -1994). In later years, he was a regular collaborator with the CfA's Science Education Department where he led projects that developed award-winning simulation software for teaching physics at the high school level.

A memorial service will be held at noon on Monday, June 26, at the First Parish Church in Weston. A private burial will be held in the Adirondacks.

With best regards,


Charles Alcock
Director, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

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