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Dr. Robert Rubin

Dr. Robert Rubin

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October 07, 2015

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October 07, 2015

Please don't submit copyrighted work; original poems, songs or prayers welcomed. reviews all Guest Book entries to ensure appropriate content. Our staff does not correct grammar or spelling. Privacy Policy | Terms of Use
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March 11, 2015
Wow this is incredible, I didn't know he had kids... He was my first mentor in the world of professional astrophysics and there won't be another supervisor quite like him! His recommendation letter is probably the most valuable one I have.
March 03, 2014
I still visit my older brother Bob's NASA website often to view the "astronomical photo of the day" changing link. I know that his upcoming March 26 birthday will be another special time of reflection, memories, happiness and, of course, sadness. Many thanks to family and friends of Bob for your tributes and support!
March 03, 2014
I would like to share my thoughts on the first anniversary of the death of my older brother Bobby.
It does not seem that a year has already passed. Each and every day throughout the year I find myself thinking about Bobby. My brother Jerry and I called him Bobby.
I often look up to appreciate the beauty of the night sky, and I immediately think of Bobby.
When eating bananas, blueberries or filberts I think of Bobby as these were some of Bobby's favorite foods.
To describe in writing the void I feel would take a poet.
I would love to be able to spend lots of time with Bobby again. Being very busy Bobby, Jerry, and I had to settle for three-way phone conversations. We never missed phone calls on each of our birthdays.
It is difficult to accept that we are now limited to visitations only by memories.
I am very thankful to have so many good memories of Bobby to revisit.
November 13, 2013
I'm embarrassed by how late my comment is - I worked for Dr. Rubin last summer. He hired me after one phone conversation and gave me an experience that altered my whole life. Working for NASA is not something any average kid gets to do - he was passionate about breaking borders and gave younger kids a chance to make a difference. I spoke with him several times a day each day of that summer, and my only regret is that we never spoke about personal topics; only science. I would have loved to hear stories of his family and travels - I have only now learned of them through reading comments. He's in a better place now, and I'm so glad that our paths intersected for the small amount of time that it did. Rest in peace, Dr. Rubin.
May 02, 2013
Bob Rubin joined my group at NASA Ames Research Center in 1983. His theoretical models of ionized gaseous nebulae in the interstellar medium were an extremely valuable tool in interpreting the measurements of far-infrared spectra we were obtaining from the Kuiper Airborne Observatory (KAO). For example his models and our data provided the first evidence for the existence of previously unsuspected hot stars near the Galactic Center. Bob was always enthusiastic about his models, consistently excited to include new atomic constants (transition probabilities and collision strengths) to improve their reliability.

For some years after he came to Ames, Bob and I used to run on the Stevens Creek Trail out to the Bay, and on the causeway under the PG&E power towers over the Bay – an exhilarating experience, like running on the water. He liked to talk about sports in general and running and runners in particular. After the KAO was decommissioned in 1995, I saw Bob less frequently, but he usually came to the annual Christmas potluck party at my house. I last saw him at the one on 22 December 2012. He was walking with a cane and seemed quite subdued, but alluded to his health by saying he just didn't feel very well.

Bob will be well remembered by his friends and colleagues at Ames. Many will enjoy the elegant bench provided by his children, which is located under a beautiful large tree next to the Space Science building where his office was. It provides a nice view to the east, overlooking the soccer field, the air field, the hangars beyond, and the distant hills.
April 23, 2013
I will miss Bob for a number of reasons. Our productive scientific collaboration over the years (more than 60 research papers/conference proceedings etc since 1986). Being one of the few folks around after hours - coming by to knock on each others' doors or passing in the parking lot when coming or going late at night. The non-work discussions of our various sports teams' chances, the locations of everybody who had visited the Orion Door website in the last year, and the updates on all the trips around the world.

I hope now you are resting in peace.
April 23, 2013
Hi Bob: It is unbelievable that you e-mailed me so light-heartedly in September. You said then that you could no longer run a mile and half, as I had been (lately for my health) doing. You said that you were going to China for a short time. The next time I heard about you was when my brothers-in-law informed us that you were dangerously ill. How sad that you are suddenly not here anymore. I loved you so much at one time. We used to sit back-to-back reading all the Russian and French classics (that you had to read for college). You said that sitting back-to-back was great for our postures. I had never heard that before (nor since!). I suspect you found it to be rather cozy. I will miss you, despite the fact that you were often a pain in the neck! Love, Aletta van der Heijden-Rubin, the mother of your four children, Suzanne Jean, Tobey Rigel (who you named of course), Arthur Altair (ditto), and Robert Howard (Robert apparently actually means "star"). PS: I just reread a book of De Maupassant's short stories in the last two weeks, and cried a little, at the memory of our happiness at one time.
April 18, 2013
I first met Bob some thirty years ago, when we were both working at Ames. We briefly shared an office. I had been doing some work on using infrared lines to explore the composition of galaxies, but it was Bob who was harnessing powerful software tools to help do that work best. His contributions to the field were impressive. Bob always had a (sometime wry!) smile on his face, and welcomed any opportunities to chat, whether about work or life. In fact, when I picture him, that's what I see. His knowing smile. We will miss both his work and his spirit.
April 15, 2013
Like a number of other lucky high school students, I had a wonderful opportunity to work with Dr. Rubin at NASA-Ames. The experience really changed my life, and put me on a path of studying science that I am still following today. Without that initial experience of learning under the patient guidance of a great mentor, I don't think my career would have taken me towards research.

I have very fond memories of Dr. Rubin teaching me how to navigate around UNIX, how to code in C and how to process images of nebulae with ImageJ. Beyond this, though, Dr. Rubin taught me the very basic essentials of research: always write the date whenever you make a note in your research journal, always back up your data, and always grab a cup of coffee before thinking too hard in the morning. It is these small tips that I constantly recall, and which always bring a smile to my face.

I will really miss you Dr. Rubin, but I know that you are in a better place. One where you'll be able to look down and see some of the amazing discoveries about nebulae, space and life that will undoubtably come in the future, and where you may sit proud knowing that you helped contribute to their unravelling.
April 15, 2013
I didn't know Bob very well but he was a kind and patient friend to me. I also noticed his no-nonsense attitude too, as when my attention drifted off-point in conversation. I attended one of his astronomy talks to his colleagues at Ames. I don't know the science nor the math but am inspired anyway. Being acquainted with Bob Rubin has been educational. Bob, the messages in this Guest Book are very touching, and I don't have the words, but maybe in some future life I will. If so, then ciao, until then.

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