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Douglas C. McCune

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McCUNE, Douglas C. Age 55, of Princeton, NJ, formerly of Lexington, was fatally injured in a cycling accident July 16. He was on the final day of a week-long, 500-mile charity bike ride when he collided with an SUV in Clinton Township, NJ. Born in Ithaca, NY, he was educated in Princeton and Lexington schools. He graduated from Lexington High in 1974, and magna cum laude from Yale in 1978 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. In 1995 he earned a master's degree in computer science from Drexel University. He was an internationally renowned computational scientist, co-head of the computational plasma physics group at the Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and prime developer of TRANSP, a complex computer code for analyzing experimental data from modern fusion experiments, which is used by fusion energy researchers worldwide. Rob Goldston, former director of PPPL, says TRANSP functions as an international "gold standard", making it possible for scientists to collaborate across continents, thereby advancing together the development of fusion, a safe, clean and unlimited energy source. He says Doug regularly generated spectacularly important scientific results in a sort of 'aw, shucks" kind of way. In 2001, he was honored for seminal contributions to his field as PPPL's Distinguished Engineering Fellow. Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) who knew Doug from years at the Lab, in response to Doug's death recalled how when he started running for office Doug was one of the first people who stepped up to help, and commented that in addition to Doug's being a fine scientist, whose work everyone respected, "what I remember most about him is that he was a kind, generous, compassionate soul." Other friends and colleagues uniformly remembered Doug's quiet, modest demeanor and his devotion to the Anchor House ride, on which he died. Doug was proud of the amount of money he had been able to raise for the charity which provides services for abused, neglected and run-away children and youth in the Trenton, NJ, area by participating in their annual fund-raising bike rides 16 times. A formal memorial service for Doug will be held in Princeton in the fall. Doug was pre-deceased by his father, Dr. James E. McCune, professor at MIT, and his sister Jamie McCune Bariteau. He is survived by his wife Susan Jefferies of Princeton, his mother Mary Ellen Turner and step-father W. Bard Turner of Lexington, his step-mother Ursula McCune of Wakefield, two half-brothers, Christopher McCune of London, England, and Robin McCune of Boston. He is also survived by his nephew Benjamin Bariteau, niece Casey Bariteau, his brother-in-law Paul Bariteau and wife Carolan, all of Louisville, KY, and other relatives. Donations in Doug's memory may be made to Anchor House Ride for Runaways securely at www. anchorhouseride.org/Donate.aspx or sent to Anchor House Ride for Runaways, 482 Centre Street, Trenton, NJ 08611; or to the Democratic National Committee, 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington DC 20003; or online at www.democrats.org.

Published in The Boston Globe on July 25, 2011
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