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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Jack Horkheimer RIP

After finishing our PhDs Em and I were fortunate enough to find positions at the same institute - no mean feat as anyone who has to contemplate the 'two-body problem' will know. Furthermore we got postdoctoral fellowships at the High Altitude Observatory (NCAR) in Boulder, USA, one of the best towns to work in if you study solar-terrestrial physics or space plasma physics.

We spent a very happy two years in Boulder and as you do we settled into a series of routines, one of which was Saturday nights. This usually entailed doing something out and about in the early evening before getting home in time for re-runs of Dr Who on PBS at 11ish. The last act in that routine was catching a curious little show called "Star Gazer", presented by the director of Miami's Space Transit Planetarium, jack Horkheimer. You should check out the shows on YouTube.

I cannot say I admired it from the start, I watched the first one with horrifed fascination, finding his style somewhat jarring; purely a matter of personal taste. I kept watching though and his enthusiasm was clear to see. By the time I left the States to return to the UK I missed the show.

Sadly I have just learned that Jack Horkheimer died on Friday at the age of 72. I am sure he will sorely missed by the many who enjoyed his easily accessable show that gave anyone the tips they needed to see something new in the night sky. Hopefully everyone will "keep looking up"