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Sun Jun 7 10:38:48 PDT 2020

Volume XXVII, Issue 33


Table of Contents

1. Passing of Roger Pyle


Announcement Submission Website: http://goo.gl/forms/qjcm4dDr4g


Passing of Roger Pyle

From: John Clem, Paul Evenson, Jacques L'Heureux, David Ruffolo, James Ryan (evenson at udel.edu)

We are deeply saddened to inform the community that Dr. K. Roger Pyle, 78, passed away suddenly at his home in St. Charles, Illinois on Thursday, May 21, 2020. 

Roger was born on November 5th, 1941 in Shanghai, China.  He earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics from MIT in 1963 and obtained his PhD in Physics with Prof. John Simpson at the University of Chicago in 1971. Passionate about space physics, Roger remained at the University of Chicago after graduation where he joined the Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research (LASR) as a Research Associate, and later as a Research Scientist and Co-Principal Investigator on various cosmic ray research projects (1963 - 1998). His work initially focused on the propagation of low energy particles in the heliosphere, primarily using data from the interplanetary probes in the Pioneer series. From Pioneer 10 and 11, the first probes to the outer heliosphere, he produced important results on the propagation of Jovian electrons and the first direct observation of cosmic ray latitude gradients. He was also an expert on data from the IMP series of spacecraft and was a major contributor to the characterization of charge sign dependence in solar modulation. Ever versatile, Roger participated in the discovery of interplanetary protons resulting from the decay of solar flare neutrons using data from the ISEE-3/ICE spacecraft.

In the 1980s, Roger evolved into being one of the world's leading neutron monitor (NM) researchers.  He was the key scientist in establishing the Haleakala NM in Hawaii in 1991, at a site rationally chosen to match the cutoff rigidity and serve as a replacement for the Huancayo NM in Peru, which had monitored cosmic ray time variations since 1951 but was closed due to political unrest.  His interest in solar neutrons continued with the neutron monitors, reporting the strongest solar neutron signals ever observed in a monitor on 1990 May 24. He also identified and quantified an exponential decline of the neutron signal from various stations with atmospheric depth along the line of sight to the Sun. 

Roger was an invaluable resource for the solar and heliospheric communities.  His ability and willingness to provide data to the entire worldwide community was much appreciated.  Few were as expert and knowledgeable as Roger when it came to understanding neutron monitors, interstellar and terrestrial cosmic rays.  In 1998 he joined the Bartol Research Institute at the University of Delaware as a Senior Scientist where he played a key role in the establishment of the Spaceship Earth network of neutron monitors. Until his retirement in 2007 he was the data manager for this project and participated in nearly all of the scientific publications from the group there.  He was a consummate team player, unconcerned with personal recognition.  He wrote a review article on public access to NM data and actively supported such efforts even when he did not lead them.  He was especially involved in the early development of real-time data for alerts of major solar storms (ground level enhancements). 

After his retirement he continued on a contract basis as data manager for the Bartol stations and remained active in the scientific work as well. Staying involved right up to his passing was something that he did not have to do.  It speaks to his love of science.

Roger met the love of his life, Beatriz (Tiza) Maranho Pyle, of Belo Horizonte, Brazil during the time his family lived in Campinas, Sao Paulo, where his father worked as an electrical engineer. After meeting in 1962, the young couple corresponded until their engagement in 1964. They were married on June 30th, 1965 in Chicago, Illinois.  In addition to his wife, Roger is survived by his children Katherine (Lawrence) Underwood, Robert (Angela) Pyle, his grandchildren Andrew and Julia Pyle, and Julian and Emilia Underwood and his brother Lawrence (Ann Calabrese) Pyle. He is also survived by his faithful dog, Suds. Roger was preceded in death by his son, Stephen, and parents Kenneth Pyle and Laura Pyle.

Arrangements are private. A Celebration of Life memorial will be scheduled later in the year as conditions allow. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Lazarus House in St. Charles. 214 Walnut Street, St. Charles, IL. or to MIT Physics Department, in memory of K. Roger Pyle, Class of '63. Checks may be made payable to MIT and mailed to: Memorial Gifts Office- 600 Memorial Drive, W98-500, Cambridge, MA 02139.  Further details about memorial services will be posted on the Yurs Funeral Homes web page at https://www.yursfuneralhomes.com/obituaries. 


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