Honoring Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellows and their contributions to the institution.
(March 20, 1939 - November 21, 2013)
World-renowned astrophysicist Dimitri Mihalas passed away in his sleep at his home on November 21, 2013 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Dr. Mihalas retired from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1999 and from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2011. Dimitri, to his friends and family, has donated his body to the University of New Mexico Medical School and his library to New Mexico Tech.
Dimitri was born on March 20, 1939 in Los Angeles, California where he grew up. He received his B. A., with Highest Honors, in three majors: Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy from the University of California at Los Angeles at age 20. Four years later he received his Ph. D in Astronomy and Physics from the California Institute of Technology. He then joined the faculty of the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University. In the following three decades, he was a professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Chicago, the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was also a pioneer in astrophysics and computational physics and remained a world leader in the fields of radiation transport, radiation hydrodynamics, and astrophysical quantitative spectroscopy for most of his career. His broad knowledge and immense contributions earned him election to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1981 (at age 42, fifteen years earlier than the usual age of entry) and many other distinguished awards. He was a laboratory fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Dimitri had an exceptional record of both quantity and quality of work, and developed new and far-reaching methodologies yielding results of great importance. He made outstanding contributions to the field of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Besides many high-quality papers, he authored or co-authored seven books and co-edited three others. Among them, three of his books have been used as textbooks for both undergraduate and graduate students worldwide and translated into other languages such as Russian and Chinese. His book Foundations of Radiation Hydrodynamics has become the “bible” of the radiation hydrodynamics community, especially at Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories and the Naval Research Laboratory.
Dimitri’s colleagues and graduate students held him in high appreciation and expressed their admiration for him at the International Conference in Honor of Dimitri Mihalas for his Lifetime Scientific Contributions on the Occasion of his 70th Birthday held at Boulder in late March 2009. A symposium was published following the conference.
Throughout his long career, Dimitri gave generously of himself to all with whom he interacted. As an advisor, role model, confidant, and friend, he saw each person as an individual, acknowledging strengths, helping overcome weaknesses, giving encouragement, and enthusiastically praising their success. He touched the lives and careers of many students and colleagues and has left a lasting legacy to be cherished by those who knew him.
(November 14, 1925 - December 1, 2013)
Laboratory Senior Fellow and longtime Laboratory scientist Stirling Colgate of Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology (T-2) died Sunday (Dec. 1) at his home in White Rock. A co-founder of the Santa Fe Institute, Colgate, 88, also was president of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro from 1965 to 1974 and a professor emeritus of physics at the school.
A gathering, "Remembering Stirling," open to colleagues and friends is scheduled for 5:45 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 15, at Fuller Lodge.
"Los Alamos has lost a tremendous scientist, colleague, mentor and friend," said Director Charlie McMillan. "His contributions to physics and national security science, including some very recent work, are broad, deep and exceptionally creative. On behalf of the Lab, I offer our deepest condolences to Stirling's family."
"He was an incredibly nice guy. It was a quality most people didn't see in him," noted Laboratory Fellow James L. Smith of Materials Technology/Metallurgy (MST-6). "[Stirling] really loved having young people around who wanted to talk to him. He really cared about helping young people."
"I think Stirling was a fantastic mentor to students and postdocs," said Theoretical (T) Division Leader Tony Redondo. "His office was always full of young people who were very excited to have discussions with him. Stirling always had very interesting ideas."
Colgate was born Nov. 14, 1925 in New York City. He attended the Los Alamos Ranch School until 1942 when the school closed in the run-up to the Manhattan Project. Colgate served two years in the Merchant Marines before attending Cornell where he earned bachelor's (1948) and doctoral degrees in physics (1951). He worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from 1952 to 1965; his career at both LANL and LLNL totaled 50 years.
Colgate came to then Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in September 1976 where he worked in various groups in Theoretical (T) Division. He was named a Senior Laboratory Fellow in 1987. From late 2008 to the present, Colgate was a Lab associate Fellow in T-2. Colgate was a member of the National Academy of Sciences. More recently, Colgate and Hui Li, of T-2, were co-principal investigators of a LDRD project that involved experimental work at New Mexico Tech involving astrophysical phenomena and turbulence.
Colgate is survived by his wife Rosie; a son and a daughter; four granddaughters; a great-grandson; and sister Anne Sutton of Honolulu.