John Ball, longtime Haystack Observatory scientist, dies at 83

Former MIT Haystack Observatory scientist John Allen Ball died Aug. 6 at age 83, of problems caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

Ball was created in 1935 at their family’s home in Ravenna, Nebraska. He graduated from University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1957 through a BS in electrical manufacturing and served for 2 years as being a lieutenant when you look at the U.S. Air Force in Libya.

After returning from Libya, Ball received a PhD in astrophysics from Harvard University, and established his profession being a radio astronomer at Harvard, initially on Harvard university Observatory in Harvard, Massachusetts, and soon after at Harvard’s Center for Astrophysics and its own radio astronomy station in Fort Davis, Tx. Ball also taught astronomy at Worcester State College.

In 1984, Ball joined MIT Haystack Observatory in Westford, Massachusetts, where he worked as analysis scientist until his retirement in 2006. At Haystack, he worked with the 37-meter-diameter radio telescope, section of a worldwide network of lengthy standard interferometry (VLBI) experiments, and ended up being instrumental to make the Haystack 37-meter antenna available for radio astronomy. Ball was a member of the MIT group that was granted the prestigious Rumford Medal, and groups from Canada and the NRAO-Cornell, because of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for pioneering operate in VLBI in April 1971.

Colleagues from MIT Haystack Observatory share extremely fond thoughts of Ball being a colleague and friend. Michael Titus recalls him being an passionate “Renaissance man who was simply always looking for smart how to assist people solve problems or make their resides safer, better, or simpler.” Director Colin Lonsdale states, “he had been bright, articulate, and interested in everything, plus one of their crusades was to make the instance, when and wherever he could, for curiosity-driven science.”

Throughout their career, Ball published extensively in astrophysics. Other publications are the guide “Algorithms for RPM Calculators” (1978), in addition to “The Zoo Hypothesis” (1973) and “The Search for Extraterrestrial lifetime: Recent improvements” (1985).

Ball had been wide range of passions, including civil rights activism, photography, motorcycling (from Ducatis to BMWs, as noticed in the slideshow above), sailing, poetry reading and writing, ancient songs admiration, sushi creating, and veganism. He arranged a movie series on nourishment, which was shown on the neighborhood cable place. He in addition served out of Harvard Cable Committee and helped with videotaping city group meetings.

He passed away peacefully at their house in Harvard, Massachusetts, enclosed by family members. He is survived by their spouse 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 solution are held for a date is launched. Instead of flowers, contributions in his name is sent to the Alzheimer’s Association.