John A. Ball, Ph.D.
(Radio Astronomer, MIT Haystack Observatory)
RIP (b: 1935 – d: August 6, 2019)
1.4 – The Mission (5.4.10)
John Allen Ball, 83, died peacefully at his home in Harvard, MA, on August 6, 2019, of complications resulting from Alzheimer’s Disease.John was born in 1935 in Ravenna, Nebraska. He graduated from the Univ. of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1957 with a BS degree in Electrical Engineering.
After serving for two years as a lieutenant in the US Air Force, at Wheelus Air Base, Tripoli, Libya, John attended graduate school at Harvard University earning a Ph.D. in astrophysics.
John worked as a radio astronomer at Harvard University, first at Agassiz Station, the Harvard College Observatory in Harvard, MA, later at Harvard’s Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge and its radio astronomy station in Fort Davis, Texas.
Later John joined MIT’s Haystack Observatory in Westford, Massachusetts, where he worked as a research scientist until he retired in 2006. At Haystack, John worked with the 37-meter diameter radio telescope, part of a global network of Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) experiments. John also taught astronomy at Worcester State College.
John published extensively in his field of astrophysics. Other publications include a book Algorithms for RPM Calculators (1978) and papers, “The Zoo Hypothesis” (1973) and “The Search for Extraterrestrial Life: Recent Developments” (1985).
In Harvard, John served on the town Cable Committee and helped with video taping town meetings.
John is survived by his wife of 64 years, Audrey Roth Ball; daughters Fifine, Desirée, and Laurie; son Kevin (Teresa Gudger); nephew Michael Ball (Beth); grandchildren Justin Walsh, Daniel Walsh, Jessica Anderson (Duke), Audrey Lewis, Lindsey Champion (Corey), and Samantha Gudger; and great grandchildren Brookelan Heck and Tucker Ray Champion. A memorial service for John will be held on a date to be announced.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be sent to the Alzheimer’s Association / alz.org
Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette from Aug. 14 to Aug. 15, 2019