In Memoriam: Judith Lynn Bancroft Pipher, 1940-2022

Judith Pipher, a professor emerita of physics and astronomy who taught at the University of Rochester in New York from 1971 to 2002, died on February 21 at the age of 81.

A native of Toronto, Dr. Pipher studied astronomy and graduated from the University of Toronto. She then pursued graduate study in the new field of infrared and submillimeter astronomy at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. After earning her Ph.D. in 1971, Dr. Pipher joined the faculty of the physics and astronomy department at the University of Rochester. At that time, she was the only woman faculty member in the department.

Professor Pipher captured the first telescopic infrared pictures of starburst galaxies. She worked on NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, designing its infrared detector arrays, enabling the study of the distant universe and capturing the evidence of forming stars and other deep space phenomena.

A champion for increasing opportunities for women in science, Dr. Pipher was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007. An asteroid was named in her honor by the International Astronomical Union.

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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