Saturday, December 13, 2008

Deceased--Frank Kelley Edmondson

Frank Kelley Edmondson
Unknown 1912 to December 8th, 2008

"Former professor of astronomy died Monday"


Anna Radtke

December 11th, 2008

Indiana Daily Student

Frank Kelley Edmondson, 96, former professor emeritus of astronomy at IU, died Monday at Bloomington Hospital.

Born in Milwaukee and raised in Seymour, Ind., Edmondson first came to IU as a freshman in 1929. After receiving a Ph.D from Harvard, he returned to the University as a faculty member, where he worked for 46 years.

Edmondson served as chairman of the astronomy department from 1944 to 1978. He was the first professor to broadcast lectures to other campuses through closed-circuit television.

Edmondson served as vice president, president and chairman of the U.S. National Committee of the International Astronomical Union. He was a founding member of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy and treasurer of the American Astronomical Society.

Edmondson was also the program director of astronomy for the National Science Foundation, from which he was awarded the NSF’s Meritorious Public Service Award.

He was a statistical advisor and close friend to Alfred Kinsey, said Margaret Olson, his daughter.

After retiring from IU, Edmondson wrote a book, "AURA and its US National Observatories," which was published in 1997.

Caty Pilachowski, the first Kirkwood Chair of Astronomy, knew Edmondson for about 30 years. She said she admired and respected Edmondson both as a person and an astronomer.

"He was a man of really profound integrity," Pilachowski said. "His vision of a national observatory that is open to all astronomers was transformative. His life has been one that has been dedicated to service to the community."

Edmondson recently summarized his life in a November interview with the Indiana Daily Student.

"I was in the right place at the right time more often than I deserve," he said.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret Russell Edmondson. He is survived by their two children, Olson and Frank Edmondson, Jr.

"He led a good life, and his time ran out," Olson said in an e-mail interview. "His mother and both her parents lived to be past 89. He got to 96. Pretty good!"

AURA and its US National Observatories

ISBN-10: 0521553458
ISBN-13: 978-0521553452

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