James B. Pollack
James B. Pollack (
July 9, 1938– June 13, 1994) was an American astrophysicistwho worked for NASA's Ames Research Center.
Pollack was born on
9 July 1938and was brought up in Woodmere, Long Island by a Jewish family that was in the women's garment business. He was a high school valedictorian and graduated from Princeton University in 1960. He then received his master's in nuclear physics at University of California, Berkeleyin 1962 and his Ph.D from Harvard in 1965, where he was a student of Carl Sagan. [Davidson, Keay (1999). "Carl Sagan A Life", John Wiley & Sons ISBN 0-471-39536-6 (This book is dedicated to Pollack)] He was openly gay : Dorion Sagan told how his father came to the defense of Pollack's lover in a problem with obtaining treatment at the university health service emergency room.
Pollack specialized in
atmospheric science[cite web| url=http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1430/is_n10_v14/ai_12297184| title=Christopher McKay - astrogeophysicist - Interview| format=htm| accessdate=2006-04-28] , especially the atmospheres of Mars and Venus. He investigated the possibility of terraformingMars, the extinction of the dinosaurs and the possibility of nuclear wintersince the 1980s with Christopher McKayand Sagan. [cite web| url=http://dwalin.wom.ru/books/Sagan,%20Carl/Pale%20Blue%20Dot.txt| title=Pale Blue Dot| format=txt| accessdate=2006-04-28] . The work of Pollack et al. (1996) on the formation of giant planets ("core accretion paradigm") is seen today as the standard model [cite web| url=http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1996Icar..124...62P| title=Core Accretion Model| format=html| accessdate=2007-08-09] .
He explored the
weatheron Mars using data from the Mariner 9spacecraft and the Viking mission. On this he based ground-breaking computer simulations of winds, storms, and the general climate on that planet. An overview of Pollack's scientific vita is given in the memorial talk "James B. Pollack: A Pioneer in Stardust to Planetesimals Research" [cite web| url=http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-iarticle_query?1997ASPC..122....7C&data_type=PDF_HIGH&whole_paper=YES&type=PRINTER&filetype=.pdf| title=James B. Pollack: A Pioneer in Stardust to Planetesimals Research| format=pdf| accessdate=2007-09-13] held at a Astronomical Society of the Pacific1996 symposium.
He was a recipient of the
Gerard P. Kuiper Prizein 1989 for outstanding lifetime achievement in the field of planetary science. Pollack died in 1994 from a rare form of spinal cancer.
A crater on Mars was named in his honor.
* [http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/dec00_seds/pollack Short biography]
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