Frank Drake '51, astronomy pioneer, dies at 92

Frank Drake ’51, astronomy pioneer, dies at 92

Frank Drake BEP ’51, former Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy, died on Sept. 2. He was 92.

Frank Drake speaks at the 2017 40 Years of Cosmic Discovery: Celebrating the Voyager Missions and Humanity’s Message to Space Panel.

“Frank Drake was a pioneer of radio astronomy and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence using radio telescopes,” said fellow astronomer Jonathan Lunine. “During his tenure at Cornell, Arecibo became a true astronomical observatory and planetary radar facility which went on to make profound discoveries about the cosmos and our planetary neighborhood,” said Lunine, the David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences and chair of the Department of Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Drake spent 20 years at Cornell, from 1964 to 1984; he was appointed the Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy in 1976. During that time he served as Cornell’s director of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and, later, as the founding director of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center (NAIC), the Cornell based management organization for the Arecibo Observatory.

Read the full story on the College of Arts and Sciences website.

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