19 October, 2017

Sidney Morgenbesser

Sidney Morgenbesser was a philosopher and professor at Columbia University.

Born in New York City, Morgenbesser undertook philosophical study at the City College of New York and rabbinical study at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, then pursued graduate study in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, where he wrote his Ph.D. thesis under the direction of Nelson Goodman. Morgenbesser began teaching at Swarthmore College, took a position at Columbia in 1953 and, in 1975, was named the John Dewey Professor of Philosophy there, a position he held until his retirement in 1993. Morgenbesser was known particularly for his sharp witticisms and humor, which often penetrated to the heart of the philosophical issue at hand and earned him the nickname from The New York Times as "the Sidewalk Socrates."

He published little, and established no school, but was revered for his extraordinary intelligence and moral seriousness. He was a famously influential teacher; his former students include Jerry Fodor, Raymond Geuss, Alvin Goldman, Daniel Hausman, Robert Nozick, Derek Parfit, and Gideon Rosen. In 1967, Morgenbesser signed a letter declaring his intention to refuse to pay taxes in protest against the U.S. war in Vietnam, and urging other people to also take this stand. Morgenbesser's areas of expertise included the philosophy of social science, political philosophy, epistemology, and the history of American Pragmatism. He founded the Society for Philosophy and Public Affairs along with G.A. Cohen, Thomas Nagel and others. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1963.

He died in New York City.

Professor J. Norman Collie

Professor John Norman Collie, commonly referred to as J. Norman Collie, was a British scientist, mountaineer and explorer.

He was born in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, the second of four sons to John Collie and Selina Mary Winkworth.  In 1870 the family moved to Clifton, near Bristol, and John was educated initially at Windlesham in Surrey and then in 1873 at Charterhouse School. Collie had to leave Charterhouse and transfer to Clifton College, Bristol where he realized he was completely unsuited for the classics. He attended University College in Bristol and developed an interest in chemistry.

He earned a PhD in chemistry under Johannes Wislicenus at Wurzburg in 1884. Returning to Britain, he taught three years at Cheltenham Ladies College where, according to his niece, "he was far from being a ladies' man and probably found that schoolgirls in bulk were rather more than he could stomach". He left to join University College London (UCL) as an assistant to William Ramsay. His early work was the study of phosphonium and phosphine derivatives and allied ammonium compounds. Later he made important contributions to the knowledge of dehydracetic acid, describing a number of very remarkable 'condensations,' whereby it is converted into pyridine, orcinol and naphthalene derivatives.

Collie served as Professor of Organic Chemistry at UCL from 1896 to 1913, and headed its chemistry department from 1913 to 1928. He performed important research that led to the taking of the first x-ray for diagnosing medical conditions. According to Bentley, Collie "worked with Ramsay on the inert gases, constructed the first neon lamp, proposed a dynamic structure for benzene, and discovered the first oxonium salt." The work on neon discare lamps was conducted in 1909. The effect of glowing neon in contact with mercury was later sometimes called Collier effect.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1888. His proposers included Alexander Crum Brown and Edmund Albert Letts. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in June, 1896.

Collie's professional career was spent as a scientist but his avocation was mountaineering. Among mountaineers, he is perhaps best remembered for his pioneering climbs on the Cuillin in the Isle of Skye, but he also climbed in the English Lake District and in the Alps with William Cecil Slingsby and Albert F. Mummery.

Collie appears to have begun climbing in Skye in 1886. He went there with his brothers to fish but made an ascent of Sgùrr nan Gillean. After two unsuccessful attempts he was given advice on the route by John Mackenzie, a Skye crofter and Britain's first professional mountain guide. Collie returned regularly to Skye and climbed with MacKenzie, the two men becoming firm friends and making many first ascents.

In 1899 he discovered the Cioch, a unique rock feature on the Coire Laggan face of Sron na Ciche. This he climbed in 1906 with Mackenzie, who named if from the Gaelic word for a breast. Collie was instrumental in producing much better maps of the Cuillin which had previously defied the skills of cartographers. He is commemorated in the Cuillin by Sgúrr Thormaid (Norman's Peak; pronounced Skoor Horamitch) He is also remembered in Collie's Ledge, a famously exposed rocky scramble across the west face of Sgùrr Mhic Choinnich, (MacKenzie's Peak) which is named after his great friend.

Since the first traverse of this ledge was made by MacKenzie with the Irish climber, Henry Hart, rather than Collie himself, some authoritative publications have begun to use the name Hart's Ledge.

In the 1997 BBC TV series on Scottish climbing, The Edge, Collie and MacKenzie's exploits were re-enacted by Alan Kimber (Collie) and John Lyall (MacKenzie)

Collie also made significant ascents on mainland Scotland, notably the first ascent and first winter ascent of Tower Ridge on Ben Nevis with Godfrey Solly and J. Collier on 29 March 1894.The ridge had one previous descent by the Hopkinsons in 1892.

In 1895, Collie, Mummery, and fellow climber Geoffrey Hastings went to the Himalaya Range for the world's first attempt at a Himalayan 8,000-metre peak, Nanga Parbat. They were years ahead of their time, and the mountain claimed the first of its many victims: Mummery and two Gurkhas, Ragobir and Goman Singh were killed by an avalanche and never seen again. The story of this disastrous expedition is told in Collie's book, From the Himalaya to Skye.

After gaining climbing experience on the Alps, the Caucasus and the Himalaya, in 1897 Collie joined the Appalachian Club upon the invitation of Charles Fay, and spent the summer climbing in the Canadian Rockies. From 1898 to 1911, Collie visited the Canadian Rockies five more times, accomplishing twenty-one first ascents and naming more than thirty peaks. He was particularly interested in locating and climbing the mythical giants of Hooker and Brown which had bordered the forgotten fur trade route through the Rockies and were reputed to be over 16,000 feet high. In 1903, Collie and Hugh Stutfield published an authoritative book on the region, Climbs and Explorations in the Canadian Rockies.

Collie retired in 1929 and thereafter spent his summers in Skye. He died at Sligachan in November 1942 from pneumonia, after falling into Loch Leathan below the Storr a year earlier whilst fishing. In keeping with his wishes, he was interred next to his friend, John MacKenzie, in an old graveyard at Struan by Bracadale next to Loch Harport.

John MacKenzie

John Morton MacKenzie was a Gaelic speaking crofter from Sconser on the Island of Skye and Britain’s first professional mountain guide.

As a teenager MacKenzie worked as a pony man for Sligachan Hotel helping tourists to visit Loch Coruisk It is believed that he first climbed Sgùrr nan Gillean at the age of ten. At 14 he made the first known ascent of Sgùrr a' Ghreadaidh with a Mr Tribe. In 1874 he was with Alexander Nicolson on the first ascent of Sgùrr Dubh. 1887 was a productive year for MacKenzie. He is credited with the first ascent of Am Basteir with the Irish climber Henry Hart with whom he traversed most of the main ridge in two days and made the first traverse of what is now called Collie’s ledge on Sgùrr MhicChoinnich. Recently there has been a tendency to call this feature Hart's Ledge He was involved in the second ascent of the steep western side of the Inaccessible Pinnacle followed by first ascents of Sgùrr Thearlaich and Sgùrr Mhic Choinnich, a peak which was later named after him; its name being Gaelic for MacKenzie’s Peak.

When he met Norman Collie in 1886, and provided him with information on the route up Sgùrr nan Gillean, he was already an established guide. Thereafter he regularly climbed with Collie, exploring the remote, wild and largely unmapped Skye Cuillin. A strong bond of friendship developed between them. Neither seems to have been unduly interested in making money. They shared an urge to climb and explore and, as they grew older, their mutual love of fishing became increasingly important. Collie seems to have been the partner who could envisage the climbing line, while MacKenzie was normally the lead climber. Friendships across class boundaries were relatively uncommon at this time and it may have helped that both men were possessed of a deep sense of humanity.

The list of their achievements together is impressive. In 1891 they succeeded in crossing the Tearlach- Dubh gap, arguably technically the most difficult problem on the main ridge. In 1896 they made the first ascent of the outlying Sgùrr Coir’ an Lochain, probably the last summit in Britain to be climbed. Collie’s 1899 discovery of the Cioch, a remarkable rock feature on the Coire Laggan flank of Sron na Ciche was followed by his first ascent of it with MacKenzie in 1906. Since then this Skye landmark has featured in movies such as ‘’Highlander’’. In the 1997 BBC TV series on Scottish climbing, The Edge, Collie and MacKenzie's exploits were re-enacted by Alan Kimber (Collie) and John Lyall (MacKenzie)

Like Collie, John MacKenzie never married; living with two spinster sisters, a niece and a nephew on his croft where he built a house in 1912 from his income from guiding.

John MacKenzie died in 1933 at the age of 76. He is buried in the grave yard of Bracadale Free Church at Struan by Loch Harport on the west side of the island.

W.H Oliver

William Hosking Oliver, commonly known as W. H. Oliver, was an eminent New Zealand historian and a poet. From 1983, Oliver led the development of the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.

Oliver was born in Feilding in 1925 to Ethel Amelia Oliver and her husband, William Henry Oliver, both Cornish immigrants. His father was a member of the Labour Party and stood in the Oroua electorate in the 1935 election, and the Manawatu electorate in 1943.

During his youth, the family moved to Dannevirke, where he received his schooling at Dannevirke High School. Upon leaving school at 18, he moved to Wellington where he studied at Victoria University of Wellington (MA), followed by three years of lecturing at that institution. He married Dorothy Nielsen, whom he had met at a Christian conference in Christchurch, and had five sons and one daughter with her.

In 1951, the Olivers moved to the United Kingdom, where he completed a PhD at the University of Oxford in 1953. They returned to New Zealand and he lectured at University of Canterbury and Victoria, before becoming inaugural professor of history at Massey University in 1965, where he later served as Dean of Humanities. He was made emeritus professor on leaving Massey in 1983 to become general editor of the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (DNZB). He wrote extensively on New Zealand history and published several volumes of poetry. In the 1990 New Year Honours he was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE), the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal, and he received a D. Litt (Hon) from Victoria University of Wellington in recognition of his services to history.00 In 2008 he was honoured in the Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement in the non-fiction genre.

Oliver died in Wellington on September 16, 2015.

Giorgos Seferis

Giorgos Seferis was a Greek poet-diplomat. He was one of the most important Greek poets of the 20th century, and a Nobel laureate. He was a career diplomat in the Greek Foreign Service, culminating in his appointment as Ambassador to the UK, a post which he held from 1957 to 1962.

Seferis was born in Urla near Smyrna in Asia Minor, Ottoman Empire. His father, Stelios Seferiadis, was a lawyer, and later a professor at the University of Athens, as well as a poet and translator in his own right. He was also a staunch Venizelist and a supporter of the demotic Greek language over the formal, official language. Both of these attitudes influenced his son. In 1914 the family moved to Athens, where Seferis completed his secondary school education. He continued his studies in Paris from 1918 to 1925, studying law at the Sorbonne. While he was there, in September 1922, Smyrna/Izmir was taken by the Turkish Army after a two-year Greek military campaign on Anatolian soil. Many Greeks, including Seferis' family, fled from Asia Minor. Seferis would not visit Smyrna again until 1950; the sense of being an exile from his childhood home would inform much of Seferis' poetry, showing itself particularly in his interest in the story of Odysseus. Seferis was also greatly influenced by Kavafis, T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.

He returned to Athens in 1925 and was admitted to the Royal Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the following year. This was the beginning of a long and successful diplomatic career, during which he held posts in England (1931–1934) and Albania (1936–1938). He married Maria Zannou ('Maro') on April 10, 1941 on the eve of the German invasion of Greece. During the Second World War, Seferis accompanied the Free Greek Government in exile to Crete, Egypt, South Africa, and Italy, and returned to liberated Athens in 1944. He continued to serve in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and held diplomatic posts in Ankara, Turkey (1948–1950) and London (1951–1953). He was appointed minister to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iraq (1953–1956), and was Royal Greek Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1957 to 1961, the last post before his retirement in Athens. Seferis received many honors and prizes, among them honorary doctoral degrees from the universities of Cambridge (1960), Oxford (1964), Thessaloniki (1964), and Princeton (1965).

Seferis first visited Cyprus in November 1953. He immediately fell in love with the island, partly because of its resemblance, in its landscape, the mixture of populations, and in its traditions, to his childhood summer home in Skala (Urla). His book of poems Imerologio Katastromatos III was inspired by the island, and mostly written there–bringing to an end a period of six or seven years in which Seferis had not produced any poetry. Its original title Cyprus, where it was ordained for me… (a quotation from Euripides’ Helen in which Teucer states that Apollo has decreed that Cyprus shall be his home) made clear the optimistic sense of homecoming Seferis felt on discovering the island. Seferis changed the title in the 1959 edition of his poems.

Politically, Cyprus was entangled in the dispute between the UK, Greece and Turkey over its international status. Over the next few years, Seferis made use of his position in the diplomatic service to strive towards a resolution of the Cyprus dispute, investing a great deal of personal effort and emotion. This was one of the few areas in his life in which he allowed the personal and the political to mix.

In 1963, Seferis was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for his eminent lyrical writing, inspired by a deep feeling for the Hellenic world of culture." Seferis was the first Greek to receive the prize (followed later by Odysseas Elytis, who became a Nobel laureate in 1979). But in his acceptance speech, Seferis chose rather to emphasise his own humanist philosophy, concluding: "When on his way to Thebes Oedipus encountered the Sphinx, his answer to its riddle was: 'Man'. That simple word destroyed the monster. We have many monsters to destroy. Let us think of the answer of Oedipus." While Seferis has sometimes been considered a nationalist poet, his 'Hellenism' had more to do with his identifying a unifying strand of humanism in the continuity of Greek culture and literature. The other five finalists for the prize that year were W. H. Auden, Pablo Neruda (1971 winner), Samuel Beckett (1969 winner), Mishima Yukio and Aksel Sandemose.

In 1967 the repressive nationalist, right-wing Regime of the Colonels took power in Greece after a coup d'état. After two years marked by widespread censorship, political detentions and torture, Seferis took a stand against the regime. On March 28, 1969, he made a statement on the BBC World Service, with copies simultaneously distributed to every newspaper in Athens. In authoritative and absolute terms, he stated "This anomaly must end".

Seferis did not live to see the end of the junta in 1974 as a direct result of Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus, which had itself been prompted by the junta’s attempt to overthrow Cyprus’ President, Archbishop Makarios.

Seferis died on September 20, 1971 at the age of 71 in Athens, Greece.  At his funeral, huge crowds followed his coffin through the streets of Athens, singing Mikis Theodorakis’ setting of Seferis’ poem 'Denial'; he had become a popular hero for his resistance to the regime.

Barney Childs

Barney Childs was an American composer and teacher.

Born in Spokane, Washington, he taught and composed avant-garde music and literature at universities in the United States and United Kingdom.

He was a musical autodidact. his association in the 1950s with Leonard Ratner and Elliott Carter in New York and with Aaron Copland and Carlos Chavez at Tanglewood (Swift and Attinello 2001). He was associated later with double bass player Bertram Turetzky and clarinet player Phillip Rehfeldt.
Trained originally as a literary scholar, Childs studied at Deep Springs College (1943–45), the University of Nevada, Reno (earning a BA in 1949), and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, earning a second BA in 1951 and an MA in 1955. He then returned to the United States where he earned a Ph.D. in English from Stanford University (1961) and remained active as an editor and writer of poetry.

He taught English literature at the University of Arizona from 1956 to 1965 (Swift and Attinello 2001). He then served as Dean at Deep Springs College from 1965 to 1969. In 1970 he was composer in residence at Wisconsin College Conservatory (Swift and Attinello 2001), and also taught at Goldsmiths, University of London.[citation needed] From 1971 until his death, he was a Fellow of Johnston College, University of Redlands in Redlands, California, where he taught composition and music literature (Swift and Attinello 2001). He also taught literature and creative writing at the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies, located on the University of Redlands campus.

Childs died of Parkinson's disease in 2000.

Robert Appy

Robert Eugène Appy was French born Brazilian journalist and writer for the 'State' since 1953.
Robert Appy was born on June 1, 1926 in Cavaillon, a town in the department of Vaucluse, France, which keeps traces of the Roman invasions. He did his course of Letters in the Faculty of Grenoble. He was also educated in Scholastic Philosophy by the Catholic Faculty of Lyon and in Economics by the Institute of Political Studies of Paris (Sciences Po).

Appy was appointed by journalist Gilles Lapouge to replace him after deciding to return to France after three years of writing the newspaper. The interview for the job was made by the French historian Fernand Braudel, who later gave name to the institute that Appy helped to found. The first text, a few days later, was an analysis of the Soviet economy under Gheorghi Malenkov, divided into two articles, published on November 15 and 18, 1953.
Before the year was over, Appy had already written commentaries on subjects as diverse as the Belgian Congo and foreign capitals, gold hoarding in the world, the economic crisis of the Brazilian film company Vera Cruz, and the Japanese offensive on international markets.  Not only were the finance ministers of Brazil seeking to know their opinion about the most delicate economic problems of the country.

Appy was also a frequent interlocutor for the Managing Directors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), so much so that he became one of the first journalists to anticipate that the Toronto (Canada) meeting in 1982 would irreversibly change the relationship between industrialized and emerging countries.

He began his career in the newspaper Combat, of the French capital. Initially, he was a writer specializing in university matters. He was later promoted to writing secretary. His seriousness in each subject allowed his opinions to be based on a very realistic idea of the issues and precise data he collected in his carefully organized personal archive. His performance made even more effective with the creation by Estad the in 1957, the Economic Actuality section, the first editorship of Economy of the Brazilian press, led by Austrian journalist Frederico Heller. Despite having integrated very quickly to the State and to Brazil, Appy maintained collaborations in the French magazines Esprit and Revue des Sciences Politiques . He was also correspondent of the French newspapers Le Monde and  L'Information Économique and Financière .

For many years, he served as economic adviser to the French and Italian banks for South America. He also worked for Visão magazine and advised Sudameris bank. He received a series of international and Brazilian commendations and decorations. Among others are the Legion of Honor, awarded by the French government, the National Order of Merit of France, the Presaenza d'Italia in Brasile Award, the Italian Circolo Award, the Abamec Prize and the BNP Paribas Citizenship Award.

In his youth, Appy participated in the resistance to the German occupation of France. In Brazil, he helped friends imprisoned during the military dictatorship.

In 1987, he published the book Capital Estrangeiro & Brasil: a Dossiê , whose presentation began with a controversial phrase: "This book is in favor of foreign capital, or rather ... of Brazil." And, throughout the work, he explained the apparent contradiction: in the capitalist system, capital has no homeland and its function is to contribute to the development of the economy, regardless of geographic location.

He had close friendships with authorities he met throughout his career, including former French President Giscard d'Estaing, former President of the European Commission Jacques Delors and former IMF directors Michel Camdessus and Jacques de la Rosière.
Although he had written in the newspaper since 1953, Appy officially joined the state in October 1957 as a translator. In May of 1964, he became editor of the Economics Department, becoming the editor of the section in December 1974. Afterwards, he became an editorialist. Retired in February 1996, he was rehired the next day, in the same position.
Even with difficulties of locomotion, it appeared daily to the headquarters of the newspaper for the meeting of the editorialists with Ruy Mesquita, that passed away on 21 May. He kept this routine until the day before he was hospitalized. He even sent several hospital and home editorials.

He had active participation in several entities. He was a member of the boards of the Commercial Association of Sao Paulo, Fecomércio, Liceu Pasteur and collaborated with a non-governmental organization (NGO). Although reserved, he would not let go of good humor.

He died on June 7, 2013 at the age of 87.

Lincoln Gordon

Abraham Lincoln Gordon was the 9th President of the Johns Hopkins University (1967–71) and a United States Ambassador to Brazil (1961–66). Gordon had a career both in government and in academia, becoming a Professor of International Economic Relations at Harvard University in the 1950s, before turning his attention to foreign affairs. Gordon had a career in business after his resignation as president of the Johns Hopkins University, but remained active at institutions such as the Brookings Institution until his death. His full name was Abraham Lincoln Gordon, but he never used his first name.

Gordon was born in 1913 in New York City, he attended the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in Riverdale, and later attended Harvard University. As an undergraduate at Harvard, Gordon was involved with the university's glee club.

He received a BA from Harvard in 1933. He received a DPhil from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar in 1936.  Gordon was program vice-chairman of the War Production Board from 1944 to 1945. He started in the Bureau of Research and Statistics of the War Production Board before joining the staff of the Requirements Committee, helping design the Controlled Materials Plan. This Plan regulated the conservation and allocation of critical materials such as steel, copper, zinc, and aluminum—materials that were scarce or were in danger of becoming so during World War II.

Gordon then worked for the US State Department as Director of the Marshall Plan Mission and Minister for Economic Affairs and at the United States embassy in London (1952–55). "To let Western Europe collapse for want of some dollars," Gordon has stated in regards to his role in the Marshall Plan, "would have been a tragedy. It would have been repeating the terrible mistake after World War I."

In 1960, Gordon helped develop the Alliance for Progress, an aid program designed to prevent Latin America from turning to revolution and socialism for economic progress. Though Brazil did indeed run balance of payments deficits with the United States during the years of the Alliance, the size of these deficits were well exceeded by the grants and credits provided by the USA to Brazil, even before factoring in development loans and military aid. Brazil also enjoyed large overall balance of payments surpluses during the Alliance years.

In 1961, Time reported that Gordon has "become Kennedy's leading expert on Latin American economics. Gordon drew up the U.S. agenda for the July inter-American economic meeting approved last week by the Organization of American States."

Gordon served as U.S. Ambassador to Brazil (1961–66), where he played a major role for the support of the opposition against the government of President João Goulart and during the 1964 Brazilian coup d'état.

In the years after the coup, Gordon, Gordon's staff, and the CIA repeatedly denied that they had been involved and President Lyndon B. Johnson praised Gordon's service in Brazil as “a rare combination of experience and scholarship, idealism and practical judgment.” In 1976, Gordon stated that the Johnson Administration "had been prepared to intervene militarily to prevent a leftist takeover of the government," but did not directly state that it had or had not intervened.[1] Circa 2004 many documents were declassified and placed online at the GWU National Security Archive, indicating the involvement of Johnson, McNamara, Gordon, and others. In 2005 Stansfield Turner's book described the involvement of ITT Corporation president Harold Geneen and CIA director John McCone.

Afterward, Gordon became Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (1966–68) in Washington, D.C., and worked for the Alliance for Progress, which coordinated aid to Latin America.

Gordon was a Professor of International Economic Relations at Harvard University in the 1950s, before turning his attention to foreign affairs.  He then served as president of the Johns Hopkins University between 1967 and 1971. In 1970, following approval from the Board of Trustees in November 1969, he introduced coeducation in Johns Hopkins' full-time undergraduate program.

During his tenure, students and faculty briefly occupied the university's executive offices to protest against the Vietnam War despite the fact that Gordon had expressed opposition to the Vietnam War. He also took part in a campus-wide discussion over military recruiting on campus and whether ROTC should have a place at Johns Hopkins. During his tenure, the university was suffering a financial crisis, with an operating deficit of more than $4 million. The crisis caused Gordon to order budget cuts, which in turn caused faculty protests. Faculty were angered because while Gordon was cutting teaching positions, he was increasing the size of the University’s administration. He also incurred student wrath when he re-wrote the student conduct code.

Gordon resigned in March 1971, following a vote of “no-confidence” by a committee of senior faculty, attributing his resignation to growing criticism from the university’s faculty. The New York Times states that "Dr. Gordon's four years at Johns Hopkins were dogged by deteriorating finances, faculty complaints over pay and academic priorities, and students rebellious over the 'relevance' of their educations." Although Gordon had agreed to remain until an interim successor could be named, he left town abruptly, forcing the trustees to move quickly; they asked Gordon’s predecessor, Milton S. Eisenhower, to return in an emergency capacity.

Gordon was a fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at the Smithsonian Institution from 1972 to 1975.  In 1984, he became a scholar at the Brookings Institution and also became director at the Atlantic Council of the United States.

Gordon died at the age of 96 at Collington Episcopal Life Care, an assisted-living home, in Mitchellville, Maryland.

Hugh MacDiarmid

Christopher Murray Grieve, known by his pen name Hugh MacDiarmid, was a Scottish poet, journalist, essayist and political figure. He is best known for his works written in 'synthetic Scots', a literary version of the Scots language that MacDiarmid himself developed.

Christopher Grieve was born in Langholm in 1892. His father was a postman; his family lived above the town library, giving MacDiarmid access to books from an early age. Grieve attended Langholm Academy and, from 1908, Broughton Junior Student Centre in Edinburgh, where he studied under George Ogilvie who introduced him to the magazine The New Age. He left the school on 27 January 1911, following the theft of some books and postage stamps; his father died eight days later, on 3 February 1911.

Following Grieve's departure from Broughton, Ogilvie arranged for Grieve to be employed as a journalist with the Edinburgh Evening Dispatch. Grieve was to lose this job later in 1911, but on 20 July of that year he had his first article, "The Young Astrology" published in The New Age.

In July 1915 Grieve left the town of Forfar in eastern Scotland and travelled to the Hillsborough barracks in Sheffield. He went on to serve in the Royal Army Medical Corps in Salonica, Greece and France during the First World War. After the war, he married and returned to journalism.

MacDiarmid's first book, Annals of the Five Senses, was a mixture of prose and poetry written in English, and was published in 1923 while MacDiarmid was living in Montrose. At about this time MacDiarmid turned to Scots for a series of books, culminating in what is probably his best known work, the book-length A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle.

From 1929 to 1930 MacDiarmid lived in London, and worked for Compton Mackenzie's magazine, Vox. MacDiarmid lived in Liverpool from 1930 to 1931, before returning to London; he left again in 1932, and lived in the village of Thakeham in West Sussex until he returned to Scotland in 1932. MacDiarmid lived in the island of Whalsay, Shetland, from 1933 until 1942. In 1942 MacDiarmid was directed to war work and moved to Glasgow, where he lived until 1949. Between 1949 and 1951 he lived in a cottage on the grounds of Dungavel House, Lanarkshire, before moving to his final home: "Brownsbank", a cottage in Candymill, near Biggar in the Scottish Borders.

He died at the age 86, in Edinburgh.

Noam Chomsky

Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist. Sometimes described as "the father of modern linguistics," Chomsky is also a major figure in analytic philosophy and one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. He is the author of over 100 books on topics such as linguistics, war, politics, and mass media. Ideologically, he aligns with anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism. He holds a joint appointment as Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and laureate professor at the University of Arizona.

Born to middle-class Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants in Philadelphia, Chomsky developed an early interest in anarchism from alternative bookstores in New York City. At the age of 16 he began studies at the University of Pennsylvania, taking courses in linguistics, mathematics, and philosophy. From 1951 to 1955 he was appointed to Harvard University's Society of Fellows, where he developed the theory of transformational grammar for which he was awarded his doctorate in 1955. That year he began teaching at MIT, in 1957 emerging as a significant figure in the field of linguistics for his landmark work Syntactic Structures, which remodeled the scientific study of language, while from 1958 to 1959 he was a National Science Foundation fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study. He is credited as the creator or co-creator of the universal grammar theory, the generative grammar theory, the Chomsky hierarchy, and the minimalist program. Chomsky also played a pivotal role in the decline of behaviorism, being particularly critical of the work of B. F. Skinner.

An outspoken opponent of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, which he saw as an act of American imperialism, in 1967 Chomsky attracted widespread public attention for his anti-war essay "The Responsibility of Intellectuals". Associated with the New Left, he was arrested multiple times for his activism and placed on President Richard Nixon's Enemies List. While expanding his work in linguistics over subsequent decades, he also became involved in the Linguistics Wars. In collaboration with Edward S. Herman, Chomsky later co-wrote an analysis articulating the propaganda model of media criticism, and worked to expose the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. Additionally, his defense of unconditional freedom of speech – including for Holocaust deniers – generated significant controversy in the Faurisson affair of the early 1980s. Following his retirement from active teaching, he has continued his vocal political activism, including opposing the War on Terror and supporting the Occupy movement.

One of the most cited scholars in history, Chomsky has influenced a broad array of academic fields. He is widely recognized as a paradigm shifter who helped spark a major revolution in the human sciences, contributing to the development of a new cognitivist framework for the study of language and the mind. In addition to his continued scholarly research, he remains a leading critic of U.S. foreign policy, neoliberalism and contemporary state capitalism, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, and mainstream news media.

Eric James, Baron James of Rusholme

Eric John Francis James, Baron James of Rusholme was a prominent British educator.

Eric John Francis James was born at Derby into a Nonconformist family. His father was a commercial traveler with a passion for literature, which he successfully passed to his son.

James was educated at York Place Secondary School, Brighton. At age 13 he went to Taunton's School at Southampton, from where he won an exhibition to Queen's College, Oxford. He gained a first in chemistry, and represented the university at chess. He had planned on studying medicine, but unable to obtain the necessary scholarships, he chose a teaching career.

James was offered a temporary appointment at Winchester College in 1933, where he soon secured a permanent staff position. He taught chemistry, as well as a variety of related subjects. He remained there until 1945, and was High Master of The Manchester Grammar School from 1945 to 1962. He then became the first Vice-Chancellor of the University of York, serving from 1962 to 1973. He is credited with creating the collegiate structure of the University of York.

James died on May 16, 1992 at the age of 83.

William Dring

Dennis William Dring was an English portrait painter.

Dring was born in Streatham, London and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art between 1922 and 1925, where he won several prizes and scholarships. He taught drawing and painting at the Southampton School of Art until 1942.

At the start of the Second World War Dring completed several portrait commissions for the War Artists' Advisory Committee, WAAC. In early 1942 he resigned from Southampton School of Art to work on a full-time contract for the Committee, specializing in Admiralty portraits. He travelled extensively within Britain at this time, painting subjects in Portsmouth, Scotland and the Western Approaches. In the late summer of 1943 he was given a second full-time contract which included more general subjects. His final war-time contract with WAAC saw Dring working on portraits for the Air Ministry throughout 1944 and 1945. Sixty-four of Drings war-time portraits, mostly pastels are in the collection of the Imperial War Museum, who also hold five oil paintings by him. There are a further forty of his wartime works at the National Maritime Museum, mostly pastel portraits.

Drings' post-war career included notable portraits of Sir Frank Stenton, Austin Hopkinson and of Cecil Hurst, family groups and landscapes plus portraits of members of the Royal Family. He recorded the presentation of the freedom of the City of London to the future Queen Elizabeth in 1947 and produced a series of five portraits for Lincoln's Inn that included pictures of both Lord Hailsham and Margaret Thatcher. Dring was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Watercolour Society and at the Royal Academy, RA. He became an associate member of the RA in 1944 and a full academician in 1955

Pêr-Jakez Helias.

Pêr-Jakez Helias, baptized Pierre-Jacques Hélias, was a Breton stage actor, journalist, author, poet, and writer for radio who worked in the French and Breton languages. For many years he directed a weekly radio programme in the Breton language and co-founded a summer festival at Quimper which became the Festival de Cornouaille.

Helias was born in 1914 in Pouldreuzig, Penn-ar-Bed, Brittany. He had a modest upbringing, but this included a good education.

After a career in the French Resistance during the Second World War, in 1946 Helias was appointed as director of a weekly programme in Breton on Radio Kimerc'h. Working with Pierre Trépos, he created hundreds of dialogues, many of them between two stock characters, Gwilhou Vihan and Jakez Kroc'hen. In 1948 he was the co-founder, with François Bégot and Jo Halleguen, of Les grandes Fêtes de Cornouaille, a major summer festival of Breton life.

The theatre was Helias's favorite genre, as he was convinced that the Breton reality was primarily a spoken one, so that it could best be captured by drama, and much of his early work was in the form of plays and scripts for radio. His An Isild a-heul, or Yseulte seconde (1963), was a three-act tragedy based on the story of Tristan and Isolde, but with a focus on Tristan's wife rather than his lover. While written in Breton, it was published in a dual text, with a French translation on the facing page, and was broadcast on the France Culture radio station in 1965.

Helias's best-known and most often performed play is Mevel ar Gosker, or 'The Yardman of Kosker'. A mevel bras was the most important Breton farm worker, a man who might enjoy many privileges, but he was not of the landowning class and it was inconceivable in the old Brittany that he could aspire to marry into it. However, the mevel of the play, Jakez Mano, contrives by a complicated means to marry his master's daughter, God Konan. The fact that he can not only think of this but even achieve it is seen as proof that the old Brittany, in which marriages were decided by social status and by the ownership of land, is dying.

Helias's poetry includes two collections in Breton, Ar men du (1974, The Black Stone) and An tremen-buhez (1979, The Pastime). An important theme in his work is his devotion to the Breton language and its power. One of his lines translates as "Breton speaker that I am, my heritage lies on my tongue, it shall never be yours".

His best-selling work is his autobiographical Le cheval d'orgueil, or The Horse of Pride, adapted for cinema by Claude Chabrol in 1980, rooted in the Bigoudenn area south of Kemper. This was also published in Breton as Marh ar lorh, after its success on screen had turned Helias into a national celebrity.

He also collected folk tales from his native Brittany and published work on the Breton language and culture. He became a major figure in Breton literature during the last third of the 20th century.

Despite his importance in Brittany, Helias came under fire from the radicals promoting the revival of the Breton language. This was only partly due to his willingness to work primarily in French and his refusal to disapprove of the language. In his important and influential Le cheval d'orgueil, Helias is accused of presenting a disappearing Breton world without obvious regret, and he even says in it that he enjoyed learning French. The book appeared first in French, and the English translation was available before that into Breton. The radicals condemned it as folklore. One commentator has said of this "Brittany's two writers most famous in France as a whole, Per-Jakez Helias and Jean-Edern Hallier, are regarded with some scorn by the Breton zealots."

Helias died on 13 August 1995.

Vladimir Kirillovich

Vladimir Kirillovich, Grand Duke of Russia was the Head of the Imperial Family of Russia from 1938 to his death.

Vladimir was born Prince Vladimir Kirillovich of Russia at Porvoo in the Grand Duchy of Finland, the only son of Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich and Grand Duchess Viktoria Feodorovna (née Princess Victoria Melita of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha). Vladimir's paternal grandparents were Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich of Russia and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (née Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin). His maternal grandparents were Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia.

Vladimir's family had fled to Finland after the Russian Revolution of 1917. His family left Finland in 1920, moving to Coburg, Germany. On 8 August 1922 Vladimir's father declared himself Curator of the Russian throne. Two years later on 31 August 1924 his father went a step further and assumed the title Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russia. With his father's assumption of the Imperial title Vladimir was granted the title of Tsesarevich (heir apparent) and Grand Duke with the style of Imperial Highness. In 1930 his family left Germany for Saint-Briac, France where his father set up his court.

In the 1930s Vladimir lived for a period in England studying at the University of London and working at the Blackstone agricultural equipment factory in Lincolnshire. He later returned to France moving to Brittany where he became a landowner.

On the death of his father on 12 October 1938, Vladimir assumed the Headship of the Imperial Family of Russia. In 1938 there were suggestions that he would be made regent of Ukraine but he rebuffed the idea, saying he would not help dissolve Russia.

During World War II, Vladimir was living in Saint-Briac-sur-Mer in Brittany. In 1942, Vladimir and his entourage were placed in a concentration camp at Compiègne after he refused to issue a manifesto calling on Russian émigrés to support Nazi Germany's war against the Soviet Union.[4] But in June 26, 1941, he issued this statement: "In this grave hour, when Germany and almost all the nations of Europe have declared a crusade against Communism and Bolshevism, which has enslaved and oppressed the people of Russia for twenty-four years, I turn to all the faithful and loyal sons of our Homeland with this appeal: Do what you can, to the best of your ability, to bring down the Bolshevik regime and to liberate our Homeland from the terrible yoke of Communism."

In 1944 the German army moved the family inland out of fear of an invasion from the coast. The Germans were taking them to Paris when an order to drive to Vittel was given. Even Vittel proved to be unsafe, so they were moved to Germany. Vladimir lived in a castle belonging to the husband of his elder sister Maria Kirillovna in Amorbach, Bavaria until 1945. After Germany's defeat, Vladimir's fear of being captured by the Soviets prompted relocation to Austria and next to the border of Liechtenstein. He tried to move with General Boris Smyslovsky's army and cross the border, but neither Liechtenstein nor Switzerland would issue him an exit visa, so he stayed in Austria where he lived in the American occupation zone.

After the war he spent most of his time in Madrid, with frequent stays at his property in Brittany, as well as in Paris.

Vladimir married Princess Leonida Georgievna Bagration-Moukhransky on 13 August 1948 in Lausanne. Pre-revolutionary Romanov house law dictated that only those born of an "equal marriage" between a Romanov dynasty and a member of a "royal or sovereign house", were included in the Imperial line of succession to the Russian throne; children of morganatic marriages were ineligible to inherit the throne or dynastic status. The family to which Princess Leonida belonged, the Bagrationi dynasty, had been kings in Georgia from the medieval era until the early 19th century, but no male line ancestor of hers had reigned as a king in Georgia since 1505 and her branch of the Bagrations, the House of Mukhrani, had been naturalized among the non-ruling nobility of Russia after Georgia was annexed to the Russian empire in 1801. Yet the royal status of the House of Bagration had been recognized by Russia in the 1783 Treaty of Georgievsk and was confirmed by Vladimir Kirillovich on 5 December 1946 as claimed head of the Russian imperial house. However the last ruling emperor of Imperial Russia Nicholas II had deemed marriage in this family of Princess Tatiana Constantinova in 1911, as morganatic.  Some controversy therefore arises as to whether Vladimir's marriage to Leonida was equal or morganatic, and whether his claim to the Imperial throne validly passed to his daughter Maria, to some other dynast, or to no one upon his death.

Following Vladimir's public designation of his daughter as "curatrix of the throne", in anticipation that she would eventually succeed him as head of the dynasty in exile, the heads of three of the other branches of the imperial family—the Princes Vsevolod Ioannovich (Konstantinovichi), Roman Petrovich (Nikolaevichi) and Andrei Alexandrovich (Mihailovichi) -- wrote to Vladimir in 1969, asserting that the dynastic status of his daughter was no different from that of their own children (Vsevolod Ioannovich was childless, but Roman Petrovich had two sons by Countess Prascovia Sheremetyev, while Andrei Alexandrovich had two sons by Donna Elisabeth Ruffo of a Russian branch of the Princes di San Sant' Antimo) and that his wife was of no higher status than the wives of the other Romanov princes.

In 1952 he called on the Western powers to wage war against the Soviet Union. On 23 December 1969 Vladimir issued a controversial decree whereby in the event he predeceased the living male Romanovs that he recognized as dynasts then his daughter Maria would become the "Curatrix of the Imperial Throne". This has been viewed as an attempt by Vladimir to ensure the succession remained in his branch of the imperial family, while the heads of the other branches declared that Vladimir's actions were illegal.

Grand Duke Vladimir died of an apparent heart attack while addressing a gathering of Spanish-speaking bankers and investors in Miami in the United States on 21 April 1992. His body was returned to Russia and he was buried with full pomp and splendor in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, the first Romanov to be honored in this way since before the revolution.

Aleksey Tolstoy

Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy, nicknamed the Comrade Count, was a Russian and Soviet writer who wrote in many genres but specialized in science fiction and historical novels.

During World War II, he served on an Extraordinary State Commission which "ascertained without reasonable doubt" the mass extermination of people in gas vans by the German occupiers. His work in the investigation of atrocities committed in the Stavropol region was recognized by Soviet prosecutors during the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals.

Dr. Howard P. Robertson

Howard Percy "Bob" Robertson was an American mathematician and physicist known for contributions related to physical cosmology and the uncertainty principle. He was Professor of Mathematical Physics at the California Institute of Technology and Princeton University.

Robertson made important contributions to the mathematics of quantum mechanics, general relativity and differential geometry. Applying relativity to cosmology, he developed the concept of an expanding universe, and predicted the redshift. His name is most often associated with the Poynting–Robertson effect, the process by which solar radiation causes a dust mote orbiting a star to lose angular momentum, which he also described in terms of general relativity.

During World War II, Robertson served with the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) and the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD). He served as Technical Consultant to the Secretary of War, the OSRD Liaison Officer in London, and the Chief of the Scientific Intelligence Advisory Section at Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force.

After the war Robertson was director of the Weapons System Evaluation Group in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 1950 to 1952, chairman of the Robertson Panel on UFOs in 1953 and Scientific Advisor to the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) in 1954 and 1955. He was Chairman of the Defense Science Board from 1956 to 1961, and a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC) from 1957 to 1961.

Howard Percy Robertson was born in Hoquiam, Washington, on January 27, 1903, the oldest of five children of George Duncan Robertson, an engineer who built bridges in Washington State, and Anna McLeod, a nurse. His father died when he was 15 years old, but although money was short, all five siblings attended university. He entered the University of Washington in Seattle in 1918, initially with the intention of studying engineering, but he later switched to mathematics. He earned a bachelor of science degree in mathematics in 1922 and a master of science in mathematics and physics in 1923.

In 1923 Robertson married Angela Turinsky, a philosophy and psychology student at the University of Washington. They had two children: George Duncan, who became a surgeon, and Marietta, who later married California Institute of Technology (Caltech) historian Peter W. Fay. At the University of Washington he also met Eric Temple Bell, who encouraged him to pursue mathematics at Caltech. Robertson completed his PhD dissertation in mathematics and physics there in 1925 under the supervision of Harry Bateman, writing "On Dynamical Space-Times Which Contain a Conformal Euclidean 3-Space".

Upon receipt of his doctorate, Robertson received a National Research Council Fellowship to study at the Georg-August University of Göttingen in Germany, where he met David Hilbert, Richard Courant, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger, Karl and Martin Schwarzschild, John von Neumann and Eugene Wigner. He found Max Born unsympathetic to his concept of an expanding universe, which Born considered "rubbish". He also spent six months at Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, where he was a post-doctoral student of Arnold Sommerfeld.

Robertson returned to the United States in 1927, and became an assistant professor of mathematics at Caltech. In 1929, he accepted a position as an assistant professor of mathematical physics at Princeton University, where he became an associate professor in 1931, and a professor in 1938. He spent 1936 on sabbatical at Caltech.[9] His interest in general relativity and differential geometry led to a series of papers in the 1920s that developed the subject.

Robertson wrote three important papers on the mathematics of quantum mechanics. In the first, written in German, he looked at the coordinate system required for the Schrödinger equation to be solvable. The second examined the relationship between the commutative property and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. The third extended the second to the case of m observables. In 1931 he published a translation of Weyl's The Theory of Groups and Quantum Mechanics.

It was Robertson's anonymous 1936 critical peer review of a paper submitted by Albert Einstein to Physical Review which caused Einstein to withdraw the paper from consideration.

Yet perhaps Robertson's most notable achievements were in applying relativity to cosmology. He developed the concept of an expanding universe, and predicted the redshift, which he plotted using the available data. In 1929, this was confirmed by Edwin Hubble. Robertson went on to apply the theory of continuous groups in Riemann spaces to find all the solutions that describe the cosmological spaces.  This was extended by Arthur Geoffrey Walker in 1936, and is today widely known as the Robertson–Walker metric.

One of Robertson's landmark papers, a brief note in The Annals of Mathematics, entitled a "Note on the preceding paper: The two body problem in general relativity", solved that problem within a degree of approximation not improved on for several decades. Earlier work, such as the Schwarzschild metric, were for a central body that did not move, while Robertson's solution considered two bodies orbiting each other. Nevertheless, his solution failed to include gravitational radiation, so the bodies orbit forever, rather than approaching each other.

Yet Robertson's name is most often associated with the Poynting–Robertson effect, the process by which solar radiation causes a dust mote orbiting a star to lose angular momentum. This is related to radiation pressure tangential to the grain's motion. John Henry Poynting described it in 1903 based on the "luminiferous aether" theory, which was superseded by Einstein's theories of relativity. In 1937, Robertson described the effect in terms of general relativity.

Aside from his work in physics, Robertson played a central role in American scientific intelligence during and after World War II. He was approached by Richard Tolman shortly after World War II began in 1939, and began working for the Committee for Passive Protection Against Bombing. This was absorbed with other groups into Division 2 of the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC), with Robertson engaged in the study of terminal ballistics.

In 1943, Robertson became the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) chief scientific liaison officer in London. He became close friends with Reginald Victor Jones, and Solly Zuckerman praised the work Robertson and Jones did on scrambling radar beams and beacons. In 1944 Robertson also became a Technical Consultant to the Secretary of War, and the Chief of the Scientific Intelligence Advisory Section at Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. His fluency in German helped him to interrogate German scientists, including rocket scientists involved in the V-2 rocket program. He was awarded the Medal for Merit for his contributions to the war effort.

After the war, Robertson accepted a professorship at Caltech in 1947. He would remain there for the rest of his career, except for long periods of government service. He was a Central Intelligence Agency classified employee and director of the Weapons System Evaluation Group in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Weapons System Evaluation Group in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 1950 to 1952, and Scientific Advisor in 1954 and 1955 to the NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), General Alfred M. Gruenther. In 1953 he chaired the Robertson Panel, which investigated a wave of UFO reports in 1952. He was Chairman of the Defense Science Board from 1956 to 1961, and a member of the President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC) from 1957 to 1961.

He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, serving as its foreign secretary from 1958 until his death in 1961, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Mathematical Society, the American Physical Society, the American Astronomical Society, the American Philosophical Society, the Operational Research Society, and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

In August 1961, Robertson was hospitalized after being injured in a car accident. He suffered a pulmonary embolism and died on August 26, 1961.

Dr. James A. Van Allen

James Alfred Van Allen was an American space scientist at the University of Iowa. He was instrumental in establishing the field of magnetosphere research in space.

The Van Allen radiation belts were named after him, following their discovery by his Geiger–Müller tube instruments on the 1958 satellites: (Explorer 1, Explorer 3, and Pioneer 3) during the International Geophysical Year. Van Allen led the scientific community for the inclusion of scientific research instruments on space satellites.

Van Allen was born on 7 September 1914 on a small farm near Mount Pleasant, Iowa, the second of four sons of Alfred Morris and Alma Olney Van Allen, a woman of Dutch ancestry (van Allen being Dutch for "from Allen/Aalden"). He grew up in the small town of Mount Pleasant, located forty-five miles due south of Iowa City. As a child he was fascinated by mechanical and electrical devices and was an avid reader of Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines. He once horrified his mother by constructing a Tesla coil that produced foot-long sparks and caused his hair to stand on end. Van Allen was valedictorian of his high school class in 1931, and received his bachelor's degree in physics, summa cum laude, from Iowa Wesleyan College in 1935. While an undergraduate at Iowa Wesleyan, he assisted the senior scientist of the second Byrd Expedition (1934–35) to Antarctica in preparing seismic and magnetic experimental equipment. (In 2004, the American Polar Society commemorated his work by presenting Van Allen with its Honors of the Society award.) He earned his master's and doctorate from the University of Iowa in 1936 and 1939, respectively.

Van Allen credits C. A. Cottrell, a science instructor in his high school, with stimulating his initial interest in science. He developed parallel interests in wood and metal crafts and did well in other subjects, becoming valedictorian of his Mount Pleasant High School class upon his graduation in June 1931. His valedictorian address was: Pax Romana, Pax Americana.

His slightly flat feet probably preserved Van Allen for the role that he was to play in developing the field of space science. With a strong interest in things nautical (which he retained throughout his life), he took the entrance examinations for entry into the U.S. Naval Academy while in high school. With outstanding grades, and with the backing of his local Congressman, William F. Kopp, he applied for admission. All went well initially, but when he appeared for his physical examination, he was rejected for three reasons. He had the aforementioned flat feet, his eyesight was somewhat deficient, and he did not know how to swim. Thus, he was forced to pursue a different path.

Immediately following high school, Van Allen went to Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant. There, during the summer of 1932, after completing his freshman year, Van Allen was introduced to geophysics research under the tutelage of physics professor Thomas C. Poulter. Van Allen had great admiration for this early mentor throughout his life. He stated in one of his autobiographical sketches, “Poulter, [was] one of the most inspiring and creative experimentalist that I have ever known before or since that time....” Poulter employed him as a summer assistant, “at 35 cents an hour, payable occasionally.” Van Allen majored in physics and graduated summa cum laude with his 37 classmates in June 1935.

Poulter had been chosen by Admiral Richard E. Byrd as his chief scientist for the 1933-1935 Second Byrd Antarctic Expedition. He had the task of planning and conducting geophysical investigations during that expedition. Van Allen assisted Poulter in those preparations; his contributions included the development of a number of instruments, including a simple seismograph and a tilt-meter for recording the shifting of glacial surfaces.

Van Allen was entrusted with the checkout of an extra sensitive field magnetometer on loan from the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, DC. In learning how to use the magnetometer and its associated theodolite, he made a magnetic field survey of Henry County, Iowa, which was included in the 1932 national grid published by the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. Reflecting later on this magnetometer, he referred to it as, "...the most beautiful instrument that I have ever used." In the course of his work with Poulter, Van Allen learned machine shop practice, glass blowing, welding and brazing, vacuum techniques and, of greatest importance, the essential elements of original experimental research.

Poulter invited Van Allen to accompany him as a member of the Antarctic Expedition, but his parents vetoed the idea. He had to be content with listening avidly to the short-wave radio reports from Little America to follow the expedition’s progress. He, with the rest of the world, was electrified by Poulter’s heroic rescue of Admiral Byrd from his lonely vigil at South Pole Station in August 1934.

Poulter and Byrd were honored by a public parade in Mount Pleasant the next summer, and Admiral Byrd delivered the chief commencement address at Van Allen’s graduation exercises. Van Allen went to his “family” university, the State University of Iowa, for his graduate work in physics. The physics faculty at the time numbered five, George W. Stewart (department head from 1909), John A. Eldridge, Edward P. T. Tyndall, Claude J. Lapp, and Alexander Ellett. Van Allen’s master’s thesis in solid-state physics, with Tyndall as his advisor, was entitled: A Sensitive Apparatus for Determining Young’s Modulus at Small Tensional Strains. He received his M.S. degree at the end of his first year there, in 1936. A fellowship allowed him to continue studying nuclear physics at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C., where he also became immersed in research in geomagnetism, cosmic rays, auroral physics and the physics of Earth's upper atmosphere.

For his Ph.D. research, he worked with Professor Ellett, who was switching his primary focus at that time from atomic beams to experimental nuclear physics. As part of his work, Van Allen, with Robert Huntoon and others, built a highly improvised Cockroft-Walton high-voltage power supply and accelerator. After much hard work and diligent coaxing of the cantankerous machine, he was eventually able to make a pair of successful runs, resulting in his dissertation: Absolute Cross-Section for the Nuclear Disintegration H2 + H2 > H3 + H1 and Its Dependence on Bombarding Energy [50 to 380 keV]. He received his Ph.D. degree in June 1939.

From 1940 through 1942, he helped develop radio proximity fuses—detonators to increase the effectiveness of anti-aircraft fire—for the defense of ships. Sponsored by the National Defense Research Council, his work was conducted at the Carnegie Institution of Washington and at the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University. In November 1942, he was commissioned as a naval officer, and he served 16 months on various ships in the South Pacific Fleet as assistant staff gunnery officer.

In 1946, Van Allen returned to the Applied Physics Laboratory where he organized and directed a team to conduct high-altitude experimental work using V2 and Aerobee rockets, and, in 1951, he accepted a Guggenheim research fellowship at the Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Later in 1951, Van Allen became professor and head of the University of Iowa Department of Physics and Astronomy, a position he held until he retired from teaching in 1985. During the 1950s, he and his graduate students used the UI football practice field to launch rockets and "rockoons"—rockets carried aloft by balloons—to conduct cosmic ray experiments above the atmosphere. A highlight of that work was the 1953 discovery of electrons believed to be the driving force behind the aurora. In 1956, he proposed the use of U.S. satellites for cosmic-ray investigations and through "preparedness and good fortune," he later wrote, the experiment was selected as the principal payload for the first flight of a four-stage Juno I rocket in October 1957.

Van Allen played an important role in planning the 1957-58 International Geophysical Year (IGY) and carried out shipboard expeditions to Greenland and southward to the Ross Sea off the coast of Antarctica in 1957. IGY culminated in the Jan. 31, 1958 launch of Explorer 1 and its scientific payload. Van Allen's instruments included a Geiger–Müller tube, which provided data and information that regions of intense radiation surround the Earth. The discovery marked the birth of the research field of magnetospheric physics, an enterprise that grew to involve more than 1,000 investigators in more than 20 countries.

In 1974 People Magazine listed Van Allen as one of the top 10 teaching college professors in the country. His former graduate students list among their accomplishments experiments on NASA's Pioneer 10 and 11, Voyager 1 and 2, Galileo and Cassini spacecraft. Van Allen joined the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in 1948 and served as the organization's president from 1982 until 1984. He has received the AGU's highest honors, including the John A. Fleming Award in 1963 for eminence in geophysics and the William Bowie Medal in 1977 for outstanding contributions to fundamental geophysics and for unselfish cooperation in research.

Also, in 1962 Van Allen became the second recipient of the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim International Astronautical Award presented by the International Academy of Astronautics for noteworthy contributions to astronautics, and in March 2006 he received the 2006 Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Trophy for lifetime achievement. In 1994, Van Allen received the 1994 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize from the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society "in recognition of his many contributions to the field of planetary science, both through his investigations of planetary magnetospheres and through his advocacy of planetary exploration." Also in 1994, he was presented with a lifetime achievement award by NASA on the occasion of his 80th birthday and the American Geophysical Union's 75th anniversary.

Van Allen's many other awards and honors include membership in the National Academy of Sciences since 1959 and the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest honor for scientific achievement, presented in 1987 by President Reagan in ceremonies at the White House. In 1989, he received the Crafoord Prize, awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm and presented by the King of Sweden. The Crafoord Prize is the highest award the Academy can bestow for research in a number of scientific fields and, for space exploration, is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Perhaps his proudest achievement as an educator was leaving his mark on 34 doctoral students, 47 master's degree students and, especially, the numerous undergraduates who enjoyed his classes. In a February 2004 interview he said, "I taught 'General Astronomy' for 17 years, and it was my favorite course. I spent one or two hours preparing for each lecture because I had a genuine enthusiasm for the course. Today, I run into people all the time who say, 'You don't remember me, but I took your course in 1985.' Many former students tell me how much they enjoyed the course."

Van Allen's wife of 61 years was Abigail Fithian Halsey II of Cincinnati (1922–2008). They were married October 13, 1945 in Southampton, Long Island. They met at the Johns Hopkins University applied physics laboratory during WW2. Their five children are Cynthia, Margot, Sarah, Thomas, and Peter.

In August 1939, Van Allen joined the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism (DTM) of the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C. as a Carnegie Research Fellow. At the time DTM was a world-class center for nuclear physics, with Merle Tuve as its driving force. During 1939-1940 Van Allen worked with Nicholas Monroe Smith Jr. on the photodisintegration of deuterium by gamma rays, and with Norman Ramsay on measuring neutron-proton cross sections using a proportional counter that he devised for observing recoil protons.

Van Allen crossed the culture gap at DTM from nuclear physics to the department'’s traditional research in geomagnetism, cosmic rays, auroral physics, and ionospheric physics.” Under the influence of researchers like Scott Forbush, Harry Vestine, Sydney Chapman, and Julius Bartels, Van Allen’'s interest in low-energy nuclear physics dwindled. He resolved to make geomagnetism, cosmic rays, and solar-terrestrial physics his fields of research, but that transformation had to await the completion of Van Allen's significant wartime contributions.

In the summer of 1940, he joined DTM's national defense efforts with his appointment to a staff position in Section T with the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) in Washington, D.C. where he worked on the development of photoelectric and radio proximity fuses. NDRC's most important project eventually became the Manhattan Project in 1941. With the outbreak of World War 2, the proximity fuse work was transferred to the newly created Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University in April 1942.

Van Allen joined the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) of Johns Hopkins University in Silver Spring, Maryland, at its founding, to continue his work on proximity fuses. He worked on improving the ruggedness of vacuum tubes subject to the forces from a gun battery.

This work at APL resulted in a new generation of radio-proximity fuses (detonators to increase the effectiveness of anti-aircraft fire—for the defense of ships) used for anti-aircraft and shore bombardment.

He was commissioned as a U.S. Navy lieutenant in November 1942 and served for 16 months on a succession of South Pacific Fleet destroyers, instructing gunnery officers and conducting tests on his artillery fuses. He was an assistant staff gunnery officer on the battleship USS Washington when the ship successfully defended itself against a Japanese kamikaze attack during the Battle of the Philippine Sea, (June 19–20, 1944). For his actions at the Pacific, Van Allen was awarded four battle stars. He was promoted to lieutenant commander in 1946. "My service as a naval officer was, far and away, the most broadening experience of my lifetime," he wrote in a 1990 autobiographical essay.

Discharged from the Navy in 1946, Van Allen returned to civilian research at APL. He organized and directed a team at Johns Hopkins University to conduct high-altitude experiments, using V-2 rockets captured from the Germans at the end of World War II. Van Allen decided a small sounding rocket was needed for upper atmosphere research and the Aerojet WAC Corporal and the Bumblebee missile were developed under a US Navy program. He drew specifications for the Aerobee and headed the committee that convinced the U.S. government to produce it. The first instrument-carrying Aerobee was the A-5, launched on March 5, 1948 from White Sands, carrying instruments for cosmic radiation research, reaching an altitude of 117.5 km.

Van Allen elected chairman of the V-2 Upper Atmosphere Panel on December 29, 1947. The panel was renamed Upper Atmosphere Rocket Research Panel on March 18, 1948; then Rocket and Satellite Research Panel on April 29, 1948. The panel suspended operations on May 19, 1960 and had a reunion on February 2, 1968.

On April 5, 1950 Van Allen left the Applied Physics Laboratory, to accept a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation research fellowship at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. The following year (1951) Van Allen accepted the position as head of the physics department at the University of Iowa. Before long, he was enlisting students in his efforts to discover the secrets of the wild blue yonder and inventing ways to carry instruments higher into the atmosphere than ever before. By 1952, Van Allen was the first to devise a balloon-rocket combination that lifted rockets on balloons high above most of the Earth’s atmosphere before firing them even higher. The rockets were ignited after the balloons reached an altitude of 16 kilometers.

As Time magazine reported in 1959, "Van Allen’s ‘Rockoons’ could not be fired in Iowa for fear that the spent rockets would strike an Iowan or his house." So Van Allen convinced the U.S. Coast Guard to let him fire his rockoons from the icebreaker Eastwind that was bound for Greenland. "The first balloon rose properly to 70,000 ft., but the rocket hanging under it did not fire. The second Rockoon behaved in the same maddening way. On the theory that extreme cold at high altitude might have stopped the clockwork supposed to ignite the rockets, Van Allen heated cans of orange juice, snuggled them into the third Rockoon’s gondola, and wrapped the whole business in insulation. The rocket fired."

In 1953 the Rockoons and their science payloads fired off Newfoundland detected the first hint of radiation belts surrounding Earth. The low-cost Rockoon technique was later used by the Office of Naval Research and The University of Iowa research groups in 1953-55 and 1957, from ships at sea between Boston and Thule, Greenland.

In 1954, in a private discussion about the Redstone project with Ernst Stuhlinger, Wernher von Braun expressed his belief that they should have a “real, honest-to-goodness scientist” involved in their little unofficial satellite project. “I’m sure you know a scientist somewhere who would fill the bill, possibly in the Nobel Prize class, willing to work with us and to put some instruments on our satellite.” Stuhlinger, himself a cosmic ray researcher during his college years, and having worked with Van Allen at White Sands with V-2 rockets, was ready with his reply: “Yes, of course, I will talk to Dr. Van Allen.”

Stuhlinger followed this by a visit with Van Allen at his home in Princeton, New Jersey, where Van Allen was on sabbatical leave from Iowa to work on stellarator design. Van Allen later recounted, “Stuhlinger’s 1954 message was simple and eloquent. By virtue of ballistic missile developments at Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA), it was realistic to expect that within a year or two a small scientific satellite could be propelled into a durable orbit around the earth (Project Orbiter).... I expressed a keen interest in performing a worldwide survey of the cosmic-ray intensity above the atmosphere.”

In 1955, the U.S. announced Project Vanguard as part of the US contribution to the International Geophysical Year, a project to launch an artificial satellite into an orbit around the Earth. It was to be run by the US Navy and to be based on developing sounding rockets, which had the advantage that they were primarily used for non-military scientific experiments.

The symposium on "The Scientific Uses of Earth Satellites" was held on January 26 and 27, 1956 at the University of Michigan under sponsorship of the Upper Atmosphere Rocket Research Panel, chaired by Dr. Van Allen. 33 scientific proposals were presented for inclusion in the IGY satellites. Van Allen's presentation highlighted the use of planned U.S. satellites for continuing cosmic-ray investigations. At this same time his Iowa Group began preparations for scientific research instruments to be carried by 'Rockoons' and Vanguard for the International Geophysical Year. Through "preparedness and good fortune," as he later wrote, those scientific instruments were available for incorporation in the 1958 Explorer and Pioneer IGY launches.

In the May 4, 1959 issue of Time magazine, its writers credited James Van Allen as the man most responsible for giving the U.S. "a big lead in scientific achievement." They called Van Allen "a key figure in the cold war’s competition for prestige. .... Today he can tip back his head and look at the sky. Beyond its outermost blue are the world-encompassing belts of fierce radiation that bear his name. No human name has ever been given to a more majestic feature of the planet Earth."

Model of Pioneer 10 / 11 spacecraft at the National Air and Space Museum
James Van Allen, his colleagues, associates and students at The University of Iowa continued to fly scientific instruments on sounding rockets, Earth satellites (Explorer 52 / Hawkeye 1), and interplanetary spacecraft including the first missions (Pioneer program, Mariner program, Voyager program, Galileo spacecraft) to the planets Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Their discoveries contributed important segments to the world's knowledge of energetic particles, plasmas and radio waves throughout the solar system.

In all, Van Allen was the principal investigator for scientific investigations on 24 Earth satellites and planetary missions.

Van Allen stepped down as the head of the Dept. of Physics & Astronomy in 1985, but continued his work at the University and served as the Carver Professor of Physics, Emeritus.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan presented the National Medal of Science, the U.S.'s highest honor for scientific achievement, to James Van Allen at White House ceremonies. In 1989, he received the Crafoord Prize, awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm and presented by the King of Sweden. The Crafoord Prize is the highest award the Academy can bestow for research in a number of scientific fields and, for space exploration, is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

On October 9, 2004, The University of Iowa and the UI Alumni Association hosted a celebration to honor Van Allen and his many accomplishments, and in recognition of his 90th birthday. Activities included an invited lecture series, a public lecture followed by a cake and punch reception, and an evening banquet with many of his former colleagues and students in attendance. In August 2005 an Elementary School bearing his name opened in North Liberty, Iowa.

On August 9, 2006 James Van Allen died at University Hospitals in Iowa City from heart failure. Professor Van Allen and his wife are buried in Southampton, New York.


Brief NASA biography

Foerstner, Abigail; James van Allen: The first eight billion miles, 2007.
Krimigis, Stamatios M.; Planetary Magnetospheres: Van Allen Radiation Belts of the Solar System Planets
Ludwig, George; The First Explorer Satellites
Ludwig, George; James Van Allen, From High School to the Beginning of the Space Era: A Biographical Sketch
Organization of the James A. Van Allen Papers, 1938-1990
McIlwain, Carl; Discovery of the Van Allen Radiation Belts
NASA, NASA Radiation Belt Storm Probes Mission
NASA; Silver Anniversary of Pioneer 10
Nature; Obituary: James A. Van Allen (1914–2006) in Nature, 14 September 2006 Digital object identifier (DOI)
Space.com; SPACE.com: U.S. Space Pioneer James Van Allen Dies (Accessed 8/10/06)
Tabor, Robert; Artist Robert Tabor Depicts the Discovery of Van Allen Radiation Belts
Thomsen, Michelle; Jupiter's Radiation Belt and Pioneer 10 and 11
University of Iowa; Van Allen Day - October 9, 2004 University of Iowa Foundation and UI Department of Astronomy & Physics
University of Iowa; U.S. Space Pioneer, UI Professor James A. Van Allen Dies
Van Allen, James A. "Space Science, Space Technology and the Space Station"; Scientific American, January 1986, page 22.
Van Allen, James; What Is A Space Scientist? An Autobiographical Example
Van Allen, James; Origins Of Magnetospheric Physics: An Expanded Edition, University of Iowa Press, 1 November 2004
Van Allen Elementary School in North Liberty, IA; Van Allen elementary homepage
Van Allen Elementary School in Mt. Pleasant, IA; Van Allen elementary homepage
Wade, Mark; Timeline
Wolverton, Mark; The Depths of Space: The Story of the Pioneer Planetary Probes. 2004
 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.