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Edwin Salpeter

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ITHACA - Edwin Salpeter, the J.G. White Distinguished Professor of Physical Sciences Emeritus at Cornell University, died peacefully in his home on Wednesday morning of leukemia. Described by his colleagues as a brilliant but modest man with an infectious smile, Ed was also a dedicated family man and passionately committed to anti-war politics and social justice.
Salpeter was born December 3, 1924, in Vienna, Austria, and fled Europe in 1939. A world-renowned astrophysicist, Salpeter earned a number of prestigious awards during his lifetime, including the Gold Medal of Britain's Royal Astronomical Society and the Crafoord Prize, awarded by the Nobel Committee of the Royal Swedish Academy. In addition to a long career in physics and astronomy, he collaborated with his first wife, the late Miriam (Mika) Salpeter, his daughter, Shelley Salpeter, and his grandson, Nicholas Buckley, on biological and medical research projects.
Salpeter is survived by his wife, Antonia (Lhamo) Shouse; his daughters, Judy and Shelley; his grandsons, Jamie and Caleb Irvine, and Nicholas and Jacob Buckley; and many devoted nieces, nephews, sons-in-law, and other members of his extended family.
His funeral will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 30, at the Lakeview Cemetery, followed by an informal reception at the house afterwards. There will be additional calling hours at his and Lhamo's home from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and on Monday.
Donations in Edwin Salpeter's name can be made to the Union of Concerned Scientists ( and to the Center for Constitutional Rights. (
Arrangements are by the Bangs Funeral Home.

Published in Ithaca Journal on Nov. 28, 2008
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