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'U' Astronomer McLaughlin Dies

'U' Astronomer McLaughlin Dies image
Parent Issue
Day
9
Month
December
Year
1965
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Donated by the Ann Arbor News. © The Ann Arbor News.
Obituary
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Prof. Dean B. McLaughlin, 64, of the University's astronomy department, the recognized foremost world expert on certain kinds of stars, died yesterday at his home at 1214 W. Washington following an illness of several weeks.
He also was recognized as an authority on the planet Mars. A geologist as well as an astronomer, he was an expert on the Triassic rocks of the eastern United States and the pre-Cambrian rocks of Canada.
Prof. Orren C. Mohler, chairman of the U-M astronomy department, said today of Prof. McLaughlin that "his astronomical career was marked by complete perfection in his studies of individual stars.
"His monographs dealing with eclipsing variables, novae and emission-line stars are the astronomical standards for these subjects.
"He was currently engaged in completing, on the basis of personal examination all existing records, a definitive description of all novae.
"Prof. McLaughlin's detailed and extensive knowledge of the peculiar stars that were his specialty was made available with the utmost generosity not only to students and colleagues in the University, but also to the world-wide astronomical community," Prof. Mohler said.
He had served on the U-M faculty for 38 years at the time of his death, coming here in 1927 from Swarthmore College where he had served as an instructor in mathematics and astronomy for three years.
Prof. McLaughlin joined the U-M faculty as an assistant professor of astronomy, was promoted to associate professor in 1934, and to full professor in 1941. Since 1951 he spent the summers as cooperating geologist for the Pennsylvania Topographic and Geologic Survey.
He received his college education at the U-M, earning his bachelor's degree in 1923, master of science in 1924, and doctorate in 1927.
Prof. McLaughlin did research in World War II on the development and application of radar to navigation and to amphibious landing operations. He did this work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Radiation Laboratory.
As far back as January, 1951, when experiments were being done with World War II German V-2 rockets and none had gone higher than 200 miles, he predicted that "in the next decade or two a rocket may go hurtling off into space for the first pass at the moon."
A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Prof. McLaughlin was vice president of the association's astronomy section in 1947.
He was a member of the American Astronomical Society and its national secretary from 1939-46. He also was a member of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, the Pennsylvania Academy of Science, the Michigan Geological Society, Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Xi, and Sigma Gamma Epsilon.
He was a fellow of the Geological Society of America.
Prof. McLaughlin had published papers on research in various areas of astronomy and geology. He was a guest investigator at the Mt. Wilson and Palomar Observatories and the Lick Observatory in 1940, 1951 and 1958.
In 1963, he took part in an international symposiumon novae at France's Haute Province Observatory.
Prof. McLaughlin was born on Oct. 25, 1901, in Brooklyn, N.Y., a son of Michael Leo and Celia Elizabeth Benjamin McLaughlin. He and Laura Elizabeth Hill of Glenside, Pa., were married in 1927. She survives.
Other survivors include a son, Dean B. McLaughlin of Ann Arbor; four daughters, Mrs. Peter (Elizabeth) Schick of Detroit, Mrs. J. C. (Laura Alberta) Dawson of Redford, Mrs. Sarah McLaughlin of Paramount, Calif., and Mrs. Lawrence I. Farley of Wurtsmith Air Force Base; 14 grandchildren; and a sister, Mrs. Jean Kritz of New York City.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Muehlig Funeral Chapel here, with the Rev. L Burlin Main officiating. Burial will follow in Washtenong Memorial Park. Friends may call at the chapel.