Alastair G. W. Cameron

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Alastair G. W. (Graham Walter) Cameron (21 June 1925 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – 3 October 2005 in Tucson, Arizona, USA)[1] was a Canadian astrophysicist and space scientist who was an eminent staff member of the Astronomy department of Harvard University. Cameron, the son of a Canadian biochemist, was born in Winnipeg. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Manitoba, and a doctorate from the University of Saskatchewan in 1952.[2] In 1959 he emigrated to the USA, where he held academic positions at the California Institute of Technology, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and at Yeshiva University. In 1973 he became a professor of astronomy at Harvard University and remained there for 26 years. From 1976 to 1982 he was chairman of the Space Science Board of the National Academy of Sciences. He pioneered the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis (especially r-process[3]) the production of chemical elements in stars. He was also the first to theorize that the formation of the Moon was the result of an extraterrestrial impact on the early Earth by an object at least the size of Mars.[4]

Cameron died on October 3, 2005,[5] from heart failure. He was 80 years old. Five days before his death, there was the announcement that Cameron would receive the 2006 Bethe Prize for his work on nuclear astrophysics, which was then 50 years old, but still the basis of current research.

Recognitions and awards[edit]


  1. ^ "Alastair G. W. Cameron, 80, Theorist on Creation of Moon, Dies". NY Times. 2005. 
  2. ^ Wasserburg, Gerald J. (January 2006). "Obituary: Alastair Graham Walter Cameron". Physics Today. 59 (1): 68–70. Bibcode:2006PhT....59a..68W. doi:10.1063/1.2180186. 
  3. ^ Alastair G. W. Cameron (1957). "Nuclear reactions in stars and nucleogenesis". The Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 69 (408). Bibcode:1957PASP...69..201C. doi:10.1086/127051. 
  4. ^ Cameron, Alastair G. W. (Graham Walter) (1925-2005)
  5. ^ "Obituary: Alastair G.W. Cameron, Noted Astrophysicist and Space Scientist". SpaceRef. October 21, 2005. 
  6. ^ Wasserburg, G. J. (1995), "Citation for the Award of the Leonard Medal to A. G. W. Cameron", Meteoritics, 30: 131, Bibcode:1995Metic..30..131W 
  7. ^ "2006 Hans A. Bethe Prize Recipient: Alastair G.W. Cameron". American Physical Society. 

External links[edit]