Leading Astrophysicist John Bahcall Dies at Age 70
John Bahcall, a leading astrophysicist who was based at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton has died from a rare blood disease. Professor Bahcall had collaborated closely with World Scientific's publishing program and was editor of various proceedings and review volumes, including Neutrino Physics: It's Impact on Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology and Dark Matter in the Universe (2nd edition).
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1934, he received his PhD from Harvard in 1961 where he studied under David Layzer. Since then, he has spent most of his academic and research life at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton University, after post-doctoral stints at Indiana University and Caltech. He was president elect of American Physical Society, and chaired the panel that produced an influential report that set the direction for astronomy and astrophysics research in the US in the 1990s.
Bahcall's areas of expertise include models of the Galaxy, dark matter, atomic and nuclear physics applied to astronomical systems, stellar evolution, and quasar emission and absorption lines. In collaboration with Raymoind Davis, Jr., he proposed in 1964 that neutrinos from the sun could be detected via a practical chlorine detector. In the subsequent three decades, he has refined theoretical predictions and interpretations of solar neutrino detectors.
During the 40-odd years of a very distinguished career, Bahcall published almost 500 papers on a variety of topics in astrophysics including quasars, ultra-high-energy cosmic rays and the composition of the Sun. He had also been conferred numerous awards for his work, including the National Medal in Science and the Hans Bethe Prize (American Physical Society).