Newsletter Editor editor at igpp.ucla.edu
Wed Oct 28 00:38:47 PDT 2020

Volume XXVII, Issue 67


Table of Contents

1. Passing of William J. Burke, Jr.


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


Passing of William J. Burke, Jr.

From: Patricia Doherty (patricia.doherty at bc.edu)

We are saddened to announce that Dr. William J. Burke, Jr. of Acton, MA passed away on October 20, 2020.  

Bill was born in 1935, in Newton, MA to Grace (McMullen) and William, Sr. He and his wife Hsiao-hua (Kuo) met at Rice University, Houston, TX and had been married since 1973. They have three children and five grandchildren: daughter Elaine (son-in-law James Glover, and granddaughter Annabelle) of Rome, Italy, daughter Maddy (son-in-law Bryan Gothie, granddaughter Kaleigh, grandsons Max and Sam) of Sudbury, and son Billy (daughter-in-law Elyse, granddaughter Leila) of New York. The five grandchildren have been his pride and joy. He is also survived by his brother James (former sister-in-law Jane), sister Patricia Shea (brother-in-law George), sister-in-law Sandra, and many nephews, nieces and cousins. He was predeceased by his parents, sister Virginia and brother John. Bill earned his Ph.D. from MIT in 1971 with a doctoral dissertation entitled, "A Theoretical Investigation of Small Scale Auroral Zone Electric Fields and Their Relation to Particle Precipitation Patterns." From 1971 through 1975, he conducted postdoctoral research on Apollo measurements of the lunar plasma environment at Rice University, Houston, TX and on microwave emissions from natural surfaces at the NASA Johnson Space Flight Center. Since joining the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in 1975, he worked on the analysis of space plasma and fields data from many Air Force and NASA satellites. He is internationally recognized for his significant contributions to the understanding of the space environment and the hazards impacting the operation of Air Force space systems. His technical publications over four decades address a wide range of topics concerning near-Earth space plasmas, spacecraft interactions with natural and artificial environments, and the effects of man-made perturbations on local distributions of energetic particles and electromagnetic waves. Although he published over 250 scientific papers, getting published was not his primary goal. "Writing is important," he liked to say, "not just to publish, but to help understand what must really be happening to explain our measurements." Bill never quite retired from physics research. After AFRL, he worked part-time at Boston College Institute for Scientific Research, with his most recent papers published in 2019 and another submitted in 2020. In his spare time, Bill enjoyed golf, which he regarded as a game of physics of imparting random impulses to spherical objects and contending with the unexpected consequences of errant trajectories and aerodynamic misbehavior. He enjoyed the annual family trip to Aruba. Bill relished taking revenge on his children by teaching his grandchildren to be naughty. He also loved gardening and yard work. He proudly mowed both of his lawns in Acton and Cape Cod until 2019. 

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine,
Et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Requiescat in pace.


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