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Jonathan Eugene Baker

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Jonathan Eugene Baker Obituary
Jonathan Eugene Baker, 40, of San Francisco, CA died unexpectedly November 18, 2013.
Born on April 12, 1973, in Brevard, NC, he was the beloved son of Sally Kemp and Eugene R. Baker of Brevard. In addition to his parents Jonathan is survived by his sister Meg Baker Buchanan and husband Travis; niece Gracie Carrick and nephews Baker and Grant Buchanan, all of Brevard.
In San Francisco Jonathan was employed by Alexa Internet, a subsidiary of Amazon.com.
As Minister of Data he was responsible for some of the most complex and important data analysis at Alexa, generating website popularity and engagement metrics that are used by millions of digital marketers, web publishers, and investors worldwide.
"Jonathan held himself to very high standards and his relentless insistence on quality served as a shining example for us all. He brought joy to our lives with his truly unique personality and diverse interests," according to Dave Sherfesee, Alexa general manager.
Jonathan attended Transylvania County Schools. When he was seven, he developed an interest
in astronomy. On Nov. 8, 1985 Jonathan spotted Halley's Comet from the Blue Ridge Parkway at 10:43 pm, using his 10-inch deep space reflector telescope. Earlier that summer he had won a blue ribbon and a red merit ribbon for astronomy and space exploration displays at the national Boy Scout Jamboree. His photo of the moon won 1st place in Earth Science at the WCU Science Festival.
Jonathan was also an accomplished pianist and played clarinet in the concert band at Brevard High. He was named first chair clarinet in All-State band. He was a National Merit Finalist and received the Ecusta National Merit scholarship. In 1990 he graduated from NC School of Science and Math, where he was named Student Leader of the Year and awarded the Golden Scroll for scholastic achievement.
From 1990 -94 Jonathan was a sudent at California Instiute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, where he received a Caltech Merit Prize (full tuition), a Robert A. Milliken Scholarship, and a Barry Goldwater Scholarship for Science and Engineering. He earned a B.S. in Physics (with honor).
In 1994 Jonathan entered University of California, Berkeley, where he was a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow. As an instructor, he designed curriculum and taught a new non-technical course on the history of cosmology to 30 undergraduates and was a TA for astrophysics at all levels.
He received his M.A. in astronomy and was a Ph.D. candidate, Astrophysics.
As a researcher at both Caltech and UC Berkeley, Jonathan developed N-body software for large cosmological simulations and designed new statistical methods for determining cosmological parameters from large astronomical datasets; achieved the world's first precise measurements of the

Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect; developed software for radio signal processing and data analysis. He had five publications in refereed journals and three invited lectures.
Jonathan's love of nature and adventure led him to travel throughout the world. On his first trip to China in 2001, he served as a diplomatic courier. Other trips to Asia included Japan, Thailand, and Tibet. In 2004 he biked from Lhasa to Kathmandu in the Himilayas. In 2005 he spent a six-week sabbatical in Europe. Later he visited Peru and Mexico. His last trip was to South America, where he spent time in Brazil, Argentina, and Chili.
Last summer he participated in the Aids/Life Cycle, a seven-day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, which covered 545 miles. This annual event raises money and awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
A celebration of life for Jonathan will be held at 3:00 pm on Friday, Dec. 6 at Brevard-Davidson River Presbyterian Church, 249 East Main St., Brevard, NC.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in honor of Jonathan may be made to B-DRPC music fund or pre-school program, 249 E. Main St, Brevard, NC 28712; San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, 833
Market St. 10th floor, San Francisco, CA 94103; or San Francisco Symphony, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA 94102.
Online condolences may be left at www.moodyconnollyfuneral home.com.
Moody-Connolly Funeral Home and Crematory is in charge of the arrangements.
Published in The Times-News on Dec. 1, 2013
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