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David Rank

1941 - 2017
David Rank Obituary
David Rank
1941 - 2017
Resident of Aptos
David Rank, a UCSC Astronomy Professor Emeritus and UC Astronomer Emeritus died at 76.
David was born in Bellefonte, PA in 1941 and grew up in Centre and Lancaster counties of Pennsylvania. David was married to Gayle Larson from 1963 to 1989. They have three children: David, Douglas and Jeffrey and four grandchildren who survive him.
Professor Rank received MS and PhD degrees from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1969. He continued with his education assuming a postdoctoral position in the Physics Department of the University of California in Berkeley. In 1973 he moved to an Assistant Professor/Astronomer position with Lick Observatory and the Astronomy Department of the University of California Santa Cruz. On coming to Santa Cruz, David maintained his ongoing interest in youth sports. For a number of years he coached Youth Soccer, Aptos Little League, and Girls Soft Ball in the Santa Cruz area. He also remained active in community service with his work as Amateur Radio Emergency coordinator for Santa Cruz County. For example, he made a large contribution to the HAM radio station which is currently used to assist local emergency communications at the Santa Cruz police building.
At UCSC David worked on equipment development for Lick observatory on Mt Hamilton. He also worked with his NASA collaborators in the engineering of instruments for the Kuiper Airborne Observatory. This work lead to significant improvement to the imaging and stability of the airborne telescope and UC ground based telescopes. Using a grant from UC patron, Anna Nickel, he designed and built the Nickel 1M telescope for Mt. Hamilton. The telescope was cleverly designed to make use of instruments which were also used on the Shane telescope. Thus the 1M telescope using expensive state of the art instruments was often at the forefront of UC research.
Professor Rank's teaching at UCSC covered courses in atomic and molecular structure as well as the development of new astronomy techniques which originated from radio and infrared measurements some of which were the result of his work and of course the research of others. The work centered on the early stages, as well as the end stages, of stellar evolution. He used a wide range of equipment including but not limited to the NASA airborne telescope, radio telescopes at Hat Creek and NRL, as well as infrared and optical telescopes in Arizona and Hawaii. His work spanned the breadth of large clouds of gas from which stars form to supernova explosions and planetary nebula which destroy stars and define the end points of their lives. Often he discovered new spectral line components which allowed for improved interpretation of new astronomical observations and theories.
A committal service will be held on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at 1 PM at Santa Cruz Memorial Park, 1927 Ocean Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. At the family's request, contributions in David Rank's name may be made to the Hospice Caring Project of Santa Cruz County or the , Santa Cruz Chapter.
If you would like to send your condolences to David's family please visit www.scmemorial.com

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Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Dec. 24, 2017
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