UCLA Professor William M. Kaula, Leading Geophysicist and Space Scientist, Died April 1


William M. Kaula, professor of Geophysics at UCLA and one of the leadinggeophysicists and planetary physicists of the last four decades, died April1 of cancer.

Professor Kaula, 73, was the author of two pioneering and influentialbooks, "Theory of Satellite Geodesy" (1966) and "Introductionto Planetary Physics" (1968). He published more than 250 papers ona broad range of subjects, including the implications of the gravity fieldsof the Earth and the terrestrial planets for their interior structuresand dynamics, and the dynamical evolution of planets and satellites.

Professor Kaula's studies explored tidal evolution, chaotic dynamics,history and stability of planetesimal distributions, the formation of terrestrialplanets through accretion, the formation of the solar system, the originof the Moon, comparative planetology, the development of fast and accuratenumerical schemes to follow solar system history and evolution, and thethermal history of terrestrial bodies - especially Venus.

Professor Kaula was a frequent participant in NASA missions, as teamleader for the laser altimeter on Apollos 15, 16, and 17, and team memberfor the radar and gravity experiments on the Magellan spacecraft. He waschief of the National Geodetic Survey of NOAA from 1984 until 1987, editorof two major scientific journals, and chair of numerous academic and professionalscientific committees.

At UCLA, Professor Kaula served as chair, first for the Department ofGeophysics and Space Physics (1972-1976), and thereafter for the Departmentof Earth and Space Sciences (1982-1984). He also served as chair of theCouncil on Academic Personnel of the university's Academic Senate.

Professor Kaula was born in 1926 in Sydney, Australia. As a youngster,he traveled with his family to New Zealand, Holland, and the United States,finally spending most of his youth in Massachusetts. He attended the U.S.Military Academy at West Point and graduated with a B.S. in Military Engineeringin 1948. After military service and studies at Ohio State University, hereceived a Master of Science degree in Geodesy in 1953. Professor Kaulawas named chief of the Division of Geodesy of the Army Map Service in 1957,and became a research scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in1960. He joined the UCLA faculty as a professor of geophysics in 1963,a position he held for 30 years. He retired in 1993 but remained activein his field for the rest of his life.

Professor Kaula's scientific contributions were recognized by numeroushonors and awards including Fellowship in the American Geophysical Union(1964), an honorary Doctor of Science from Ohio State University (1975),and the NASA Medal for exceptional scientific achievement (1983). In 1987,he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, received the WhittenMedal of the American Geophysical Union, and the Brouwer Medal of the AmericanAstronomical Society. In 1996 the asteroid #5685 was officially named Kaulain his honor.

Professor Kaula was President of the Geodesy Section of the AmericanGeophysical Union, and Chair of the Division of Dynamical Astronomy ofthe American Astronomical Society.

William Kaula was particularly proud of two achievements. He was thefirst person for a period of 15 years to receive a tenured appointmentin the physical sciences at UCLA without a Ph.D. degree, and there hasbeen no other such appointment since. He was also the first graduate ofWest Point to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences since GeorgeSquires, Chief of the Signal Corps in 1919.

William Kaula is survived by his wife, Gene Hurley Kaula; children,Anne Shapiro, Jaqueline Kaula, Marie Bleochle, Don Jensen, Janet Jensen,and Patty Schwartz; and nine grandchildren.

Contributions in his honor can be sent to the UCLA Foundation/ESS forthe William M. Kaula Memorial Fund, Department of Earth and Space Sciences,University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1567, Attn: Barbara Widawski,or to the American Geophysical Union, Executive Offices, 2000 Florida Avenue,N.W., Washington, DC 20009, in honor of William M. Kaula.



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