The Princeton Astrophysics community mourns the loss of John Rogerson, Jr.

Wednesday, Jul 28, 2021
by Department of Astrophysical Sciences

John (Jack) Rogerson, Jr., Professor Emeritus in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences passed away on July 8, 2021 at the age of 99.  He first came to Princeton as a student, completing his Ph.D. in Astrophysics in 1954, and he returned to Princeton as a researcher in 1956 at the invitation of Lyman Spitzer and Martin Schwarzschild. He retired from the Princeton faculty in 1988. 

Rogerson was a central figure in Princeton’s early space projects, most notably the Stratoscope project and the Copernicus satellite, also known as the Orbiting Astronomical Observatory III satellite, in collaboration with Professors Spitzer and Schwarzschild.  Stratoscope was a balloon project to photograph the solar granulation with 1/3 arcsec resolution.  Copernicus was a UV satellite, launched on the 21st of August in 1972.  Rogerson’s official title for the Copernicus project was Executive Director, and in this capacity he supervised building and testing of Princeton’s spectrograph payload and associated electronics at Perkin-Elmer and Sylvania Electric Systems.  His key research in the 1970s with Copernicus involved discovery of interstellar deuterium, and stellar spectra for B and O stars that defined limits of mass loss from the P Cyg lines.

John Rogerson was born on September 3, 1922. He was married to Elizabeth M. (Betty) Rogerson, nee Van Doren, who predeceased him with her passing on December 21, 2012. They had two sons, Dr. John N. Rogerson and Alan M. Rogerson, and grandchildren Jennifer Azzano, Betsy Wolf, John D. Rogerson, and Jason Rogerson; great-grandchildren Allison and Steven Azzano, Emmy and Drew Wolf, and Jerry and Jake Rogerson.

Princeton University is honoring his memory by flying the University flag over East Pyne at half-staff from July 27-29th.