John Ball, longtime Haystack Observatory scientist, dies at 83

Former MIT Haystack Observatory scientist John Allen Ball died Aug. 6 at age 83, of complications resulting from Alzheimer’s condition.

Ball was created in 1935 at his family members’s home in Ravenna, Nebraska. He graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1957 having a BS in electric engineering and served for just two many years as lieutenant inside U.S. Air power in Libya.

After coming back from Libya, Ball obtained a PhD in astrophysics from Harvard University, and established his job as radio astronomer at Harvard, initially in the Harvard College Observatory in Harvard, Massachusetts, and soon after at Harvard’s Center for Astrophysics and its particular radio astronomy place in Fort Davis, Tx. Ball also taught astronomy at Worcester State College.

In 1984, Ball joined up with MIT Haystack Observatory in Westford, Massachusetts, where he worked as research scientist until his your retirement in 2006. At Haystack, he worked with the 37-meter-diameter radio telescope, part of a global community of lengthy standard interferometry (VLBI) experiments, and ended up being instrumental in creating the Haystack 37-meter antenna designed for radio astronomy. Ball had been a person in the MIT team that was awarded the prestigious Rumford Medal, along side teams from Canada together with NRAO-Cornell, by the United states Academy of Arts and Sciences for pioneering operate in VLBI in April 1971.

Peers from MIT Haystack Observatory share really fond memories of Ball being a colleague and friend. Michael Titus remembers him being an passionate “Renaissance man who was simply constantly trying to find smart methods to assist people solve issues or make their particular resides safer, better, or simpler.” Director Colin Lonsdale says, “he had been brilliant, articulate, and interested in learning everything, and something of his crusades was to result in the instance, anytime and wherever he could, for curiosity-driven research.”

Throughout their job, Ball published thoroughly in astrophysics. Various other journals through the guide “formulas for RPM Calculators” (1978), also “The Zoo Hypothesis” (1973) and “The research Extraterrestrial lifestyle: current Developments” (1985).

Ball had a wide range of passions, including civil-rights activism, photography, motorcycling (from Ducatis to BMWs, as observed in the slideshow above), sailing, poetry reading and writing, classical music appreciation, sushi generating, and veganism. He organized a film show on nutrition, that has been shown on neighborhood cable section. He also served on the Town of Harvard Cable Committee and contributed to videotaping city meetings.

He passed away peacefully at their home in Harvard, Massachusetts, in the middle of household. He could be survived by his partner of 64 many years, Audrey Roth Ball; daughters Fifine, Desirée, and Laurie; son Kevin (Teresa Gudger); nephew Michael Ball (Beth); grandchildren Justin Walsh, Daniel Walsh, Jessica Anderson (Duke), Audrey Lewis, Lindsey Champion (Corey), and Samantha Gudger; and great-grandchildren Brookelan Heck and Tucker Ray Champion. 

A memorial service are going to be held for a time is established. Instead of blossoms, contributions inside the name is delivered to the Alzheimer’s Association.