It is with great sadness that the NRAO reports the death on 10 May, 2008 in Charlottesville, Virginia of Dr. Barry E. Turner, who was a member of its scientific staff from 1967 until 2006. Barry was one of a small coterie of radio astronomers who pioneered the charting of the astronomical microwave spectrum, thereby establishing astrochemistry as a new field of science. In a career that spanned over 40 years, Barry carried out major surveys both of the interstellar millimeter-wave spectrum and of the Galaxy, including a comprehensive survey of OH in the Galactic plane. Barry also found, or contributed to finding, fifteen new molecular species in the Milky Way and three in external galaxies. He made major contributions to the study of the morphology of the dense interstellar medium, and to the use of molecules to probe star formation. He was an enthusiastic and prolific user of, and advocate for, the NRAO's single-dish telescopes, particularly the 140-Foot at Green Bank, and the 12-Meter in Tucson, but his work also laid foundations for many studies that will be central to the future scientific work of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array.
Barry was legendary among his colleagues for his unmatched dedication to his research, and for the baryon density achieved in his office. In an era of increasingly large collaborations, Barry's career was marked by an exceptional number of one and two-author publications. He was also an accomplished classically trained pianist, and would often end his day at home playing his grand piano.
He was born in Victoria, B.C., Canada on 8 September 1935 and received his early education there and at the University of British Columbia, where he obtained his B.Sc. in 1959 and his M.Sc. in 1962 (both in solid state physics) and where he also met his wife, Margaret-Ann. After briefly working in solid-state physics at the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa, Barry began his career in astronomy in 1964, as a Ph.D. student at the University of California at Berkeley under Prof. Harold Weaver. He completed his Ph.D. in just 3½ years and in 1967 took a post-doctoral position with the NRAO in Charlottesville, which was his scientific home for the rest of his life. His research career was ended prematurely by a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He will be greatly missed by his colleagues at the NRAO and worldwide.
A memorial event for Barry will be held at the Teague Funeral Home, 2260 Ivy Road, in Charlottesville on Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 11:00 a.m. All who remember Barry are welcome.
Fred K.Y. Lo
Director Modified on [an error occurred while processing this directive]