Community:Email 23sep10

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For the CEDAR mailing list please Alan Aylward

Gerald Vann Groves (1928-2010) : an Obituary


It is with sadness we report the death of professor Gerald Vann Groves (G.V.Groves or Gerry as he was known in the Atmospheric Physics community). Gerry was one of the post-war generation of scientists who "invented" space science once they could get their hands on sounding rockets to reach the regions that had previously been too high to get to. In parallel with the work of Harrie Massey and others, Gerry's atmospheric physics group at UCL (University College London - Dept of Physics, later Physics and Astronomy) began launching grenades into the upper atmosphere, measuring the sound waves that came back to the ground and from that deducing the density structure of the upper atmosphere. Later he moved to working on models of the upper atmosphere and contributed to the early CIRA model (COSPAR International Reference Atmosphere), particularly trying to characterise the dynamics - tides and planetary waves - of the middle and upper atmospheres. At UCL (where he received his PhD in 1957) Gerry contributed his space expertise to the teaching and there are several senior people in the field today who will have been introduced to Space Science by doing his Diploma in Space Science, or hearing him lecture on other courses. A quiet, undemonstrative man, his enthusiasm for the subject nevertheless shone through. Gerry retired from UCL in 1984, but continued working with the British Interplanetary Society as a space advocate. He was its President for a number of years.

Alan Aylward

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