July/August 2002 Table of Contents
of the Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
Donald E. Osterbrock
great German-American astronomer Walter Baade not only pioneered
supernova research, he doubled the distance scale of the universe
and fathered the idea of stellar populations based on age.
Baade was one of the great astronomers of the 20th century. He opened
up the fields of stellar and galactic evolution, which have contributed
so much to astronomy in our time, but which were sterile and unproductive
areas of research before his landmark discovery in 1944 that stars
fall into two distinct populations. Baade (pronounced BAH-dah) was
lucky to be the right man in the right place at the right time,
but he was able to seize the situation and make the most of it in
a way that none of his contemporaries could.
being a great scientist, Baade was also a warm human being, a German
who was widely admired, loved, and respected in America despite
two bloody world wars. He was an outstanding teacher who claimed
he did not like to teach, but who left behind a generation of astronomers
he had advised and inspired. Widely considered "only"
an observational astronomer, he had an excellent training in astrophysics
and collaborated with astrophysicists all his life. His aim was
to understand the universe, and he took us far along the path toward