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Arthur M. Wolfe


1939 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
Wolfe, Arthur M. 04/29/1939 ~ 02/17/2014 LA JOLLA -- Distinguished Professor Emeritus and astrophysicist, who for a decade directed the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences at UC San Diego and achieved widespread recognition for his discoveries in star formation and the early universe, Arthur Wolfe passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family in La Jolla following a year-long battle with cancer. With Rainer Sachs, Wolfe discovered a property of the cosmic microwave background - the thermal radiation left by the Big Bang - called the "Sachs-Wolfe effect," in which photons of light from the beginning of the universe are shifted due to gravity, making the cosmic microwave background appear uneven. He also gained recognition for his research on the spectra of quasars known as "Damped Lyman Alpha Systems," important in the history of star formation in the universe. With his deep physical insight, he had a wide influence on research in cosmology and extra-glactic astronomy and mentored many young researchers. Born in Brooklyn, Wolfe received his bachelor's degree from Queen's College and his doctorate in theoretical Physics from University of Texas at Austin. He began his career in 1973 at the University of Pittsburgh, leaving there in 1989 to join the faculty of the Physics Department at UC San Diego. He held an endowed Chancellor's Associates Chair of Physics professorship from 1997 until his retirement. His numerous awards and honors include election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995, the award of a Sackler Fellowship at the University of Cambridge in 2004 and 2007, winning the Jansky Prize of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in 2008, and election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012. He is survived by his wife Linda Scott, a daughter, Diana Wolfe, M.D. of New York, a son, David Wolfe (Molly Artz Wolfe) of Los Angeles, and a granddaughter Chloe Eve Wolfe. He is also survived by his sister Lee Tahlor of Queens, New York. He was preceded in death by his first wife Constance Eve Wolfe in 1995. A celebration of his life and work will be held at the Atkinson Pavilion of the UCSD Faculty Club on Sunday, March 30th, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Mar. 23, 2014
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