Goddard Retirees and Alumni Association
P.O. Box 163, Lanham, MD 20703-0163


February 2012 http://graa.gsfc.nasa.gov 28th Year of Publication


February 14 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Reservations are required, so either contact Alberta Moran on her cell phone at 301-910-0177 or via e-mail at mdspacebr@aol.com no later than noon on Friday, February 10th. Our featured speaker will be Dr. H. John Wood, Goddard’s Lead Optical Engineer. His presentation is entitled, “Hubble Anthology: 20 Years of Astronomy with HST,” and we expect he will provide some astounding images captured during the Hubble telescope’s history.
March 13 Mark your calendar for the GRAA Luncheon at 11:30 a.m.

COMMENTS FROM RON BROWNING, GRAA PRESIDENT: Dr. Wayne Higgins, Director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center and formerly employed in Goddard’s Laboratory for Atmospheres, served as keynote speaker at our January luncheon. He presented understandable definitions of weather and climate and their differences. Weather is an event that is location - and time-specific, whereas climate is an average of weather for a specific time (e.g., a week, a month, or longer). He described factors (e.g., Arctic oscillations, Madden-Julian oscillations, and El Nino and La Nina) and how they affect weather. Cyclic El Nino and La Nina cause the jet stream to shift, resulting in wet and/or dry conditions over large parts of the Earth. Dr. Higgins noted that global warming is not uniform throughout the globe and that abrupt climate changes result in the melting of glaciers. It is predicted that at the current rate there will be no glacier in Glacier National Park, Montana, by the year 2030. Neither El Nino nor La Nina is caused by global warming and both have existed for millions of years. Dr. Higgins’ graph of 100-year global temperatures demonstrated a ramp up during WWII, but returned to normal after the war. You have no doubt noticed that weather-related disasters have been increasing of late. Ten such disasters occurred in the US from January through August 2011. Also, 751 tornadoes were recorded in the US in 2011, the most recorded in any one year. Projections are for increases in temperature and precipitation, but these extremes cannot be attributed to climate change alone. Dr. Higgins closed his presentation by noting that China is now focusing on climate and its affects and that its weather service has 60,000 employees (some fifteen times the US number).

ELECTION OF GRAA’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS (BOD): The election for the GRAA BOD is scheduled for the luncheon on April 10th. Although current BOD members are likely, if elected, to want to continue serving during the upcoming two-year term, please forward the names of any member(s) you may wish to nominate to the GRAA address, Attn: Dave Moulton, or via e-mail (davidlmoulton@comcast.net) so they can be included on the ballot to be distributed in the March newsletter. Nominations should be forwarded to arrive no later than February 17th.

February 24, 1996: A Delta-II rocket launched the Polar satellite. It was responsible for multi-wavelength imaging of the aurora and measured the entry of plasma into the polar magnetosphere and the geomagnetic tail, the flow of plasma to and from the ionosphere, and the deposition of particle energy in the ionosphere and upper atmosphere. Although the satellite still remains in orbit, mission operations were terminated on April 28, 2008.

RECENT RETIREES: Ronald S. Barasch, Margaret D. Booth, Richard J. Broderick, Barry W. Bruce, Gilberto Colon, Joseph A. Dezio, Mark A. Domen, James R. Fischer. Samuel R. Floyd, Frederick G. Huegel, Adrian R. Jefferson, Robert L. Jones, Jane E. Langan, Clifford D. Leitao, Lawrence J. Ramsey, Robert B. Ray, Phillip A. Sabelhaus, James A. Smith, Mark A. Stephens, and Philip R. Ward.

CODE 600 REUNION SCHEDULED FOR GRAA LUNCHEON ON MAY 8, 2012: For all Code 600 alumni and retirees, plan to join colleagues and friends in celebrating the long and distinguished history of Goddard’s Science Directorate at the GRAA Luncheon in May. Dr. Frank McDonald will be orchestrating the reunion celebration.


•  Philip B. Farwell, of Las Cruces, NM, passed away on December 17th, 2011. He was an Engineer at Goddard and worked, during his career, in the Project Operations Support Division, the Network Procedures & Evaluation Division, and the Analysis Integration and Test Division. After retiring, he assumed similar duties as a contractor at the White Sands Complex and was still employed when he passed.

•  Duane K. McDermond, Sr., of Pasadena, MD, passed away on December 16th, 2011, after a brief struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was an Electronics Technician who worked on unmanned space programs at Goddard in the Microelectronics and Signal Processing Branch of the Electrical Engineering Division (Code 564).

•  Donald A. Parker, of Glenelg, MD, passed away on January 6th. He was a Computer Scientist/Software Engineer at Goddard and, among numerous assignments over his career, supported the Information Processing Division, the Mission Operations Computing Division, and the Systems Engineering Branch of the NCC Division.

•  Ralph P. Paulis, of Merritt Island, FL, passed on October 12th. Among several different Goddard organizations, he worked in the Spacecraft Technology Division, the Engineering Physics Division, and the Engineering Services Division.

•  Richard B. Stothers, of New York, NY, passed away on June 28th, 2011. He was an Astrophysicist at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). It was his work and advice that stimulated Dr. Robert Jastrow, GISS founding director, to write his famous book, Red Giants and White Dwarfs.

•  William G. Thompson, of Alexandria, VA, passed away on January 1st. He was an Electrical Engineer at Goddard who worked in the Engineering Physics Division and later in the Information Analysis and Display Office of the Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics.

MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR FORMER CENTER DIRECTOR JOHN W. (JACK) TOWNSEND, JR. : A memorial service is scheduled for February 17th at 1:00 p.m. for former Center Director Townsend in the Post Chapel at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (formerly Fort Myer). Attendees should arrive at the Post Chapel a half-hour prior to the service, so keep in mind that you must plan to process through vehicle security screening on the base.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Bob Wigand reports tax-deductible contributions were received from the following members: Joseph Bredekamp, Ronald Britner, Ronald Browning, Michael Calabrese, Richard Ceresa, Wilma Chigas, Robert DeFazio, William Elsen, R. Denis Endres and Mary Albritton-Endres, Richard and Patricia Fitzenreiter, John Fuchs, Theodore and Frann Goldsmith, Robert and Elizabeth Goss, James Heaney, Robert Keefe, John Klineberg, Thomas LaVigna, Edward Lawless, Alex R. Lawrence, Donald and Judith Lokerson, Gerald Longanecker, David Manges, John Millman, Hugh O’Donnell, Thomas Page, John Strekel, Virgil True, Thomas Underwood, Carl Wagner, Charles White, Robert E. Wilson, Charles Woodyard, and Earle Young.

THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH: A common element of Internet slang for the younger generation is LOL, the acronym for “laughing out loud.” For our generation, however, it’s more likely the acronym for “living on Lipitor.”