Archive for the ‘In Memoriam’ Category

World’s first radio sundial dedicated in memory of Ron Bracewell

October 2nd, 2013

bracewell_sundialThe world’s first and only radio sundial has been erected in memory of RON BRACEWELL, a professor of electrical engineering and a pioneer in radio astronomy. The sundial was unveiled at the Very Large Array (VLA) Radio Telescope Observatory in New Mexico. It was constructed using pieces of a famous radio telescope that Bracewell built near the Stanford campus.

Bracewell, who died in 2007, was a pioneer in the transition from giant dish antennae to radio telescopes comprised of large-scale arrays of antennae.

In 1961, he installed 32 dish antennae at Site 515 – an area west of campus near Alpine Road – to measure the sun’s temperature. The array, which Bracewell called “Heliopolis,” was one of the first in the world. NASA used the daily maps of solar activity it produced to plan the first moon landing.

“Since its humble beginnings, radio astronomy has become a very active field. Professor Bracewell was one of the heroes of the field,” said DAVID B. LEESON, a consulting professor of electrical engineering and one of the speakers at the dedication ceremony. “Modern giant arrays like the VLA owe their conceptual design to Bracewell’s experimental and mathematical vision.”


Ronald Bracewell (Photo: L.A. Cicero)

The radio sundial at the VLA was constructed using 10 of the concrete pillars that held the Heliopolis antenna dishes. (The array was dismantled several years ago.)

In addition to aligning with markers that tell the time of day, the shadow cast by the Bracewell Sundial’s gnomon – the center object of the sundial – will also indicate the approximate time of year. It will also fall on markers that point to important dates in the history of radio astronomy and to solar noon at other observatories.

And, unlike any other sundial in the world, it will also allow visitors to locate the approximate position in the sky of three celestial objects that played important roles in radio astronomy – two distant galaxies and the remains of an exploded star in the Milky Way.


Al Gore dedicates bench in memory of Stephen Schneider

April 25th, 2013

Former Vice President AL GORE was on campus Tuesday to remember a friend. Gore spoke at a private ceremony dedicating a stone bench in the Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden in memory of renowned climate scientist STEPHEN SCHNEIDER, a former Stanford biology professor and senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, who died in 2010. Gore also spoke later that day, giving the inaugural Stephen H. Schneider Memorial Lecture.

Schneider and Gore worked together on several projects and shared, along with Schneider’s colleagues on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.”

Before Gore spoke, Schneider’s widow, TERRY ROOT, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute and frequent scientific collaborator with Schneider, thanked Schneider’s friends.

A bench dedicated to Stephen H. Schneider sits in the Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden. An engraving reads, ''Teach your children well.'' At right, Terry Root, Schneider's widow and a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, leaves a stone at the bench.

“I promised I wasn’t going to cry,” she said through the onset of tears, throwing up her arms. Then, the Rev. Canon SALLY G. BINGHAM, president of climate change advocacy group Interfaith Power and Light, compared Schneider to Old Testament prophets. “He raged on about drought, fires, floods, rising seas with the spread of disease unless we changed our ways.” Although Schneider was “not a believer,” Bingham said, he was among a small number of scientists willing to include religion in the climate change dialogue and to emphasize the moral issues involved.

“He was a force of nature,” Gore said of Schneider. “He was sui generis.” Schneider inspired others, Gore noted, with “his passion, his commitment, his stamina, his relentless desire to keep working for the truth and to get the message out.”

Gore recalled first seeing Schneider on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in the mid-1970s, when climate change had barely made it into the American consciousness. Schneider’s work to raise awareness of the issue was “awe inspiring,” Gore said. “There are very few people in history as successful as Steve was in helping to protect that only home we have ever known.”

After Gore’s comments, Stanford Woods Institute Co-Director JEFF KOSEFF wrapped up the proceedings. He called Schneider a “mensch,” a Yiddish term that Koseff translated as “a person you want to be around because he or she makes you feel genuine and whole. A mensch makes you feel good about yourself and what you do, lifts up those around him or her. A mensch inspires [people] to do good, to heal the world.”

Koseff paused to imagine Schneider asking him if he could come up with a slogan for the day’s event. “I said, ‘Yes, I can, Steve. We’re dedicating a bench for a mensch.’”

Watch a video montage of Schneider discussing climate change.

ROB JORDAN, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment

Stanford Athletics remembers Peter Sauer

July 11th, 2012

PETER SAUER, a co-captain and starter on the 1998 Stanford Final Four basketball team, collapsed and died Sunday night after he fell and hit his head on the concrete court during a pickup basketball game in White Plains, N.Y. He was 35.

The outgoing Sauer, who played four seasons for the Cardinal and graduated with an economics degree in 1999, was part of a five-man recruiting class that played in the NCAA Tournament four consecutive years and won the Pac-10 title in 1999.

“Everyone in the Stanford community is deeply saddened by the passing of Peter Sauer,” said JOHNNY DAWKINS, Stanford’s Anne and Tony Joseph Director of Men’s Basketball. “Peter was a tremendous individual and a devoted husband and father. He was very passionate about Stanford and our basketball program. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Amanda, and their three children.”

Sauer was in attendance during Stanford’s NIT championship run at Madison Square Garden in March, and prior to one of the games watched practice before speaking briefly to the team. Sauer, a former Bank of America executive, led an early-morning tour of the bank’s corporate headquarters the following day.

“Meeting him for the first time, you could easily see how invested he was in this program and, really, all of Stanford athletics,” said Dawkins. “Peter truly embodied what it meant to be a Stanford student-athlete. He spoke to our guys about taking full advantage of their opportunities and how attending Stanford is a lifetime decision.”

In the video below, Sauer talked about how the NIT tournament was a good building block for the Cardinal men’s basketball program.

Read the full announcement on the Athletics website.

Statement by Stanford President John Hennessy on the legacy of Steve Jobs

October 6th, 2011

“Steve Jobs was an extraordinary man, and I am deeply saddened to learn of his death. A pioneer in the computer industry, his creativity and vision are legend. But he was also a great communicator, who was able to cultivate innovation in others. When he spoke at Stanford’s 2005 Commencement, he told our students that the key to doing great work is to love what you do. Steve Jobs loved what he did, and he inspired us all to think differently. He will be profoundly missed.”

- President John L. Hennessy, Oct. 5, 2011

Filled to the rafters

September 11th, 2011

Photo courtesy The Stanford Daily

The voices of the Peninsula choral community and a standing-room-only crowd filled Stanford Memorial Church on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. Led by Schola Cantorum, an 80-member chorus based in Mountain View, and in partnership with the university’s Office for Religious Life and Department of Music, singers and musicians from throughout the Bay Area paid tribute to those who lost their lives in and those who responded to the terrorist attacks 10 years ago. Gregory Wait, conductor and music director of Schola Cantorum and the director of vocal studies in the Stanford Department of Music, conducted the performance of  Mozart’s Requiem in D minor.

Paul Costello remembers Jack LaLanne

January 25th, 2011

jumpin_jack_mainThree years ago, PAUL COSTELLO, executive director of communications and public affairs at the School of Medicine, interviewed fitness guru Jack LaLanne for a Stanford Medicine magazine issue devoted to the topic of longevity.

“I found him to be indefatigable, and I thought then perhaps he really would never die,” Costello wrote of LaLanne, who died over the weekend at age 96.

Read Costello’s full post in the School of Medicine’s Scope blog, which links to the 2008 interview.

Stanford’s connection to ‘Dancing with the Stars’

November 17th, 2010

Dancing with the Stars may not be the height of intellectual fare, but in some corners of the Stanford campus it’s must-see TV, or at least a guilty pleasure. As of last night, the finalists in the competition included Bristol Palin, daughter of former Republican veep candidate Sarah;  somewhat grown-up child actor Kyle Massey; and actress JENNIFER GREY. To most of America, Grey is probably best known for her role in Dirty Dancing. Some may even know that she is the daughter of actor, singer and dancer Joel Grey. Many may not know that she is the daughter-in-law of BOB GREGG, professor emeritus of religious studies and former dean for religious life at Stanford. Jennifer is married to Gregg’s son, CLARK GREGG, an actor, director and writer who has been featured in numerous supporting roles on the big and small screen, including Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and The New Adventures of Old Christine. He also wrote the screenplays for What Lies Beneath and Chuck Palahniuk’s Choke.
“The Jennifer run on DWTS has been intriguing to watch, knowing her as we do!” Bob Gregg wrote in an email.

—Elaine Ray

Stanford salutes its veterans

November 11th, 2010

On Tuesday, Student veterans SEBASTAIN GOULD and GUEZ SALINAS visit Memorial Auditorium to read a Veterans Day letter from President John Hennessy and view the honor roll of engraved names of members of the Stanford community who gave their lives in war.

Tom Haynie, men’s swimming coach from 1947 to 1960, dies at 94

June 4th, 2010

haynieTOM HAYNIE, Stanford’s successful and popular swim coach throughout the 1950s, has died. He was 94 and had lived until recently in Morro Bay. He and his wife, Sherrye, were married for more than six decades.

“There have only been four [men's swim] coaches in Stanford history and he was great to me,” said Stanford’s third swim coach, JIM GAUGHRAN, who swam for Stanford in the 1950s. “He was the kind of coach who cared for his swimmers, and we all remain friends today. He was a great influence on all of us and we will miss him.”

Haynie coached 100 freestyle world record holder ROBIN MOORE and Olympians GEORGE HARRISON and PAUL HAIT during his time on the Farm, compiling a 84-9 (.903) dual record. In seven seasons Stanford finished sixth or better at the NCAA meet.

Haynie coached at Stanford from 1947 to 1960, then moved with his family to Hawaii, where he coached at the Punahou School until 1981.

“He never asked for anything for himself – no glamour, no notoriety,” said his daughter, Julie Cline-Maurer. “But he is greatly loved all over the world by those who either swam for him at Stanford or were his students and swimmers at Punahou.”

Campus remembers Phillip James Falcon; memorial service planned for Feb. 6

January 19th, 2010


PHILLIP JAMES FALCON of Stanford, Calif., and Marion, Iowa, died of respiratory failure Jan. 4, 2010, at Stanford Hospital. He was 48 years old.
Falcon was born in Boston on July 19, 1961. After spending his early years in Lexington, Mass., he moved with his family to Stanford in 1972 and continued to live with his parents, LAURA AND WALTER FALCON, on Stanford’s campus and on their Iowa farm until his death.
Falcon’s family remembers him as someone who approached life with good cheer and a sense of adventure and who faced his medical challenges with courage. He completed the special education program in the Palo Alto school system and had a long association with HOPE Services. He traveled extensively in Asia with his parents, and he especially loved the farm in Iowa. He also was one of Stanford’s most loyal football fans.
In addition to his parents, Falcon is survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Lesley and Michael Hammond, of Aurora, Neb.; and his brother, sister-in-law and their children, Andrew, Mary, Hallett and AJ Falcon, of Upland, Calif.
A memorial service is planned for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, in the Bechtel Room in Encina Hall. A burial service will be held in the spring in Marion, Iowa. The Phillip Falcon Memorial Fund (c/o his parents) has been established to assist young people with special needs.