MIT Kavli Institute Directory

Bernard F. Burke (deceased August 2018)

William A. M. Burden Professor of Astrophysics, Emeritus Faculty

In Memoriam: June 6, 1928 - August 5, 2018

Bernard "Bernie" F. Burke, 90, was astrophysics pioneer

Sandi Miller, MIT Department of Physics
September 19
Bernard F. "Bernie" Burke '50, PhD '53, the William A.M. Burden
Professor of Astrophysics Emeritus and a principal investigator
at the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
 
Bernard F. "Bernie" Burke '50, PhD '53, the William A.M. Burden Professor of Astrophysics Emeritus and a principal investigator at the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, died August 5. A resident of Cambridge, he was 90.

A former chair of Physics’ Astrophysics Division, Burke was an innovator whose research into radio astronomy stretched our view into the farthest reaches of the universe. His most notable achievements included the discovery of decametric radio noise from Jupiter, for which he earned the Helen B. Warner Prize of the American Astronomical Society in 1963, and the first Einstein Ring. He played a key role in developing very long baseline interferometry (VLBI), which allows high-resolution imaging of cosmic structures, and the Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope, to aid in his research of gravitational lenses, quasars, and galaxies. Burke is the co-author, along with F. Graham-Smith, of Introduction to Radio Astronomy, now in its 3rd edition. 

“Those of us who have been here a while remember many decades of his humor, energy, intellect, and zest for life,” said Jacqueline Hewitt, Director of the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics & Space Research, and one of 19 students mentored by Burke. “This is a great personal loss for me, and I know many at MKI who were close to him share my sorrow.”

Read the full obituary on MIT News 9/24/2018

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Prof. Bernard F. Burke, William A.M. Burden Professor of Astrophysics, formerly of the Radio Astronomy Group of the Research Laboratory of Electronics, is now a principal investigator at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research.