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Binary Stars: Paul Etzel

Paul Etzel was one of my undergraduate 'limbo' students, and he avoided any such problems by simply leaving K.U. and going to Washburn College (Topeka, KS) to get his B.A., where Dr. Stanley Alexander taught astronomy. Storer and I were well acquainted with Stan, and had a high opinion of him; on occasion he would visit us at K.U. and we would have interesting discussions.

Which reminds me, I recall (from distant Los Alamos) seeing reports on TV about the unusually large tornado that went through Topeka in the early 1970's, and it was a miracle that no lives were lost. The Washburn College Observatory suffered severe damage, in particular the telescope dome was blown off the roof. Stan could personally verify some of the stories reported about the tornado, and also remarked that the dome was never found again.

In any event Paul Etzel continued along the astronomy trail and got his Ph.D. at U.C.L.A. in 1986 (I quote) "via a rather involved route. When we got out of there, my wife and I had three kids. My primary interest is binary stars. I owe you and Thom Gandet (an undergraduate astronomy major at K.U.; cf. immediately below) for sparking my interest in that field. I got my Ph.D. as an understudy to both Dan Popper and Mirek Plavec. Binary stars are in my blood thanks to you. I am co-chair of the AAS meeting this summer (June 1998) in San Diego. P.S., I still use the Wolfe, Storer, Horak spectroscopic binary code (heavily modified); I renamed the Least Squares routine NWSTR in honor of our dear late colleague. Check out the San Diego State web page at http://mintaka.sdsu.edu."

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