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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Telescope renamed for prof.

    The telescope housed in the Steward Observatory was dedicated and renamed the Raymond E. White Jr. Reflector last night in honor of former astronomy professor Raymond E. White Jr., who retired from the university in 1999.
    The telescope housed in the Steward Observatory was dedicated and renamed the Raymond E. White Jr. Reflector last night in honor of former astronomy professor Raymond E. White Jr., who retired from the university in 1999.

    For Raymond E. White Jr., an astronomy professor at the UA from 1964 to 1999, the Steward Observatory was a second home.

    Or perhaps it was his first, depending on the time of day, said his widow, Ruby White.

    “”He was a fixture here,”” said Kathleen Wade, White’s daughter. “”I mean, even as a student here, I knew he would be here if I ever had a question.””

    The Steward Observatory’s reflector was renamed the Raymond E. White Jr. Reflector yesterday in honor of White’s dedication to his students and his work at the UA before he died in 2004.

    The 21-inch telescope that will bear his name is used primarily for undergraduate education and public outreach, which White helped coordinate, said Thomas Fleming, a senior lecturer at the Steward Observatory.

    “”He’s the one who got it going, and put it in a shape where students could use it and actually learn about astronomy,”” Fleming said. “”He had so much to do with actually getting that telescope in there and actually making it work and dedicating it to undergraduate education.””

    White’s 35 years as a professor were marked by his dedication to students, Fleming said. Teaching both undergraduate and graduate courses, White also worked as a faculty fellow in the dormitories, and for nearly 30 years helped organize the free Monday night lectures that the astronomy department offers to the public.

    One of White’s focuses in his work was archeoastronomy, or the mixture of archeology and astronomy to determine how ancient cultures studied astronomy. White worked in Machu Picchu and discovered how a building in the city was used as an observatory, Fleming said.

    “”He had so much to do with actually getting that
    telescope in there and actually
    making it work and dedicating it to undergraduate education.””

    – Thomas Fleming,
    Steward
    Observatory
    senior lecturer

    White was also one of two professors to receive an inaugural title of University Distinguished Professor in 1995.

    “”The term was invented for him, in fact,”” said Joaquin Ruiz, dean of the College of Science, who spoke at the dedication yesterday.

    The ceremony also commemorated the naming of an asteroid after White. Its official title is now Asteroid 90528 RAYWHITE. Edward Beshore of the Catalina Sky Survey, a former student of White’s, was on hand to present a certificate of the naming to White’s family.

    “”He loved to teach; it was his life here,”” said Ruby White. “”I think he’d be very honored.””

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