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Multiple Periodicities. Wayne Fullerton.

Wayne Fullerton came to K.U. from Kansas City, and entered our astronomy program. The first time I met him was the occasion when he recognized me walking to work and picked me up in his beat-up ancient Chevy (at that time I didn't know that he was an auto aficionado, especially in view of the copious exhaust emanations!). Wayne was a thin young fellow with a wry sense of humor that guided him towards practical jokes on occasion, but fate caught up with him one time: he stored a can of soda pop in the refrigerator where we kept photographic plates; the room had no furnace outlet, and when winter arrived and the temperature got below zero the can exploded! But refrigerators aren't supposed to do that, and Wayne admitted that he was the culprit. His loss of face punishment was to clean up the mess.

Wayne was a very fine student, and became an expert in numerical methods, especially Fourier analysis. He developed a method which he called Iterative Least Squares Residual Spectrum Analysis, and applied his program to a variety of problems, especially to stars called intrinsic variables. His M.A. thesis, written in 1967, was titled The Multiple Periodicities of the Delta Scuti Stars. Wayne and Brook Sandford invited me to dinner one evening at the apartment they shared with a psychology major, and I remember that their apartment walls were practically covered with computer generated plots. Wayne's paper was certainly deserving of publication, and I encouraged him to submit it to the Ap.J. Unfortunately the referee would not approve it, even though Wayne rewrote it and made most of the suggested changes. However, in the meantime Wayne was admitted as a graduate student by the Astronomy Department of the University of Michigan, and a rather awkward four-way communication system developed between the referee, editor, Wayne and me, so that the paper was uncomfortably left in limbo. After Wayne received his Ph.D. he joined LASL as a staff member in the Computation Division. He liked to work during the nighttime, when he was freer to use the computer facilities. For his recreation Wayne raced automobiles, and I recall that he purchased a Corvette.

The last time I saw him he had decided to go to work for a mathematical software firm in Texas, and later it was reported that he had married and bought a new home. Finally, one evening Brook Sandford and I received urgent phone calls from Jack Hills (a fellow-student with Wayne at both K.U. and Michigan) to meet at his Los Alamos apartment, where he informed us of the untimely and somewhat mysterious (at least to me) death of Wayne on Christmas Eve, 1984. Apparently Wayne had taken his own life.


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