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Fletcher Watson was born in Baltimore and graduated from Pomona College (California) in 1933. After earning his PhD in astronomy from Harvard University in 1938, working with Whipple, he joined the staff of the Harvard College Observatory. Watson was the author of Between the Planets (1941), a popular book concerning comets, meteors, asteroids, and meteorites that was translated into several languages. After work for the Navy on LORAN during World War II, he returned to Harvard, but to the Graduate School of Education, where, in 1964, he became founder and codirector of Harvard Project Physics, the course from which a good many current AAS members learned their high school physics. Watson was also founding chairman and a long time member of the Planetarium Advisory Committee of the Boston Museum of Science. He won a number of awards for teaching and for leadership in science education. Watson joined AAS early in his graduate career and let his membership lapse after moving into science education, although he continued to interact with astronomy graduate students through about 1970, co-chairing Richard Berendzen's thesis committee with William Liller. He retired officially in 1977, but continued his involvement in teacher-training activities. Watson died 7 May 1997 of heart failure.
Obituary written by: Jerome T. Murphy (Harvard University Graduate School of Education), Ariadne Valsamis (Harvard University Graduate School of Education)
BAAS Citation: BAAS, 1997, 29, 1496
SAO/NASA ADS Bibcode: 1997BAAS...29R1496M