In Memoriam: June 6, 1928 – August 5, 2018
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.”
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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.