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Wallace L. W. Sargent (1935–2012)

Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Publication Date
  • Physics


By any measure, Professor Wallace L. W. Sargent (known to colleagues and friends as “Wal”) was one of the most influential and consistently productive astronomers of the last 50 years; he authored or coauthored more than 320 refereed journal articles, which have received more than 25,000 citations. He never rested on past laurels—65 of his papers (with >5000 citations) have appeared since the year 2000. Wal remained active as a teacher and researcher until just weeks before the end of his life (he officially retired from the Caltech faculty on 2012 October 1). His impact on the field of astrophysics was remarkably broad as well as seminal; among many other awards, he was elected in 1981 as a Fellow of the Royal Society (U.K.) and as a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2005, his first year of eligibility after becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.

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