Please note: the AAS Obituaries are temporarily being hosted on this website while their full content is being ingested into the PubPub publishing platform newly adopted by the Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society. When the migration is complete, your existing links will take you to the final, migrated content. Contact email@example.com with any questions.
Ralph E. Sturm, who died on 30 June 1994, was a native of Jasper, Indiana, who never quite got around to finishing the bachelor's degree in engineering that he began at Notre Dame in 1930. Instead, he became an extraordinarily versatile and productive instrument developer, working in aviation, the automobile industry, radiology, and more, in the process of which, he completed the academic requirements for a PhD in physics at the Johns Hopkins University, working with Russell H. Morgan.
Among the instruments Sturm invented were an image intensifier, a modification of which was used in early imaging of Mars from space, and an image orthicon television tube that was used to get the first motion pictures of the Soviet spacecraft Sputnik. These led to his appointment to affiliate positions at the Dearborn Observatory and Lowell Observatory and to his joining AAS in 1977. His most frequently cited papers were in the area of radiology and were written while he was associated with the Mayo Clinic. He remained in the Rochester, Minnesota area after his retirement. A more extensive obituary by Hiller L. Baker, MD, appears in Radiology 193, 880-81 (December 1994).
(From information supplied by J.S. Tenn, Susan Brown, AAS records, Science Citation Index, and the Radiology obituary.)
Obituary written by: Virginia Trimble (U. California, Irvine, U. Maryland)
BAAS Citation: BAAS, 1997, 29, 1491
SAO/NASA ADS Bibcode: 1997BAAS...29.1491T