Mike Jura

With great sorrow, the Physics & Astronomy Department announces that Mike Jura died during the weekend of january 30-31, 2016.

Mike has been ill for many months but managed to continue teaching until Winter Quarter.

In his research, Mike brought a unique, theory-oriented viewpoint to the analysis of astrophysical data. His work spanned a broad range of topics including intensity fluctuations in pulsars, excitation of molecular hydrogen, star formation and dust in galaxies, the chemical composition of interstellar gas, diffuse interstellar bands, and the gas return from evolved stars.

His recent work, on the pollution of white dwarf atmospheres, has allowed the characterization of the chemical composition of small bodies, such as asteroids, in extrasolar planetary systems. This creative, inventive approach has provided direct information on extraolar planetary systems that is very difficult to measure otherwise. He has even been able to infer levels of tectonic activity in these systems, a remarkable feat.

Mike has also been a force in shaping the current Division of Astronomy & Astrophysics. He was instrumental in developing the infrared focus of the Division at the time he chaired the then Department of Astronomy in the late 1980s. He has been central to the specific hiring decisions since that time. The Division would not look the way it does today without his guidance. He is the reason that many of us are here.

He will be greatly missed.

A longer obituary will be forthcoming.