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By The Staff

Douglas Orson ReVelle, age 64, of Los Alamos died at dawn on Sunday May 2nd at the hospice in Lovelace Hospital in Albuquerque, NM, following a brief illness. He was successfully recovering from lymphoma but experienced liver failure due to complications of chemotherapy treatment.


Born in Rochester, NY, to Mark and Myril ReVelle, Doug was the youngest of three sons. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in atmospheric science and aeronomy and planetary atmospheres from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he also met and married his college sweetheart, Ann Johnston, on December 21st, 1967 (the winter solstice). As a scientist he found it easy to remember such important dates; for example, he always remembered his wife’s birthday because it was the month and day of the launch of the Russian satellite Sputnik. His son David’s birthday was the day and month of the eruption of Mt. St. Helen’s. Doug did post-graduate work at the National Research Council of Canada’s Hertzberg Institute in Ottawa, Ontario, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism.


Doug treasured his time as a college professor, teaching in the physics department at Northern Arizona University, the geography department at Northern Illinois University, and the physics and astronomy department at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario where he was an adjunct professor. He also spent a sabbatical semester at the University of Wyoming and a year at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. He traveled extensively to attend conferences and meet with colleagues all over the world, including trips to Sweden, Russia, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Austria, the Bahamas and Brazil. Doug worked in the EES Division before retiring after 16 years with LANL in February of this year.


Doug was passionate about his work and willingly shared and encouraged young students and new scientists to follow their dreams. One of his colleagues from Tajikistan recently wrote:

“Famous scientist Dr. Douglas ReVelle was one of the most active and talented scientist-researchers of meteors. His achievements and contributions to the field of meteor physics is broadly known all over the world. We remember our numerous meetings with him in different international conferences, in which he was always one of the active participants.”


He won many awards over the years and was proud to have appeared in a news article on the front page of the science section of the New York Times and on David Suzuki’s Quirks and Quarks CBC Radio show.  In 2000 at the triennial ACM (Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors) meeting in Berlin he had the honor of having an asteroid named after him. It is 13358 ReVelle (link: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi?sstr=13358+Revelle).


He is survived by his wife, Ann, of Los Alamos; his son David of Tucson, Arizona, and his son Peter, a student at NM Tech in Socorro, NM.; his oldest brother Jack of Orange, CA; his nieces Karen ReVelle of Irvine, CA, Cindy ReVelle Rodger of Boston, MA, Elizabeth ReVelle Sheridan of Newcastle, Australia, Alexa Schwartztrauber of Reston, VA, and nephew Kenton Johnston of Reston; his sisters-in-law Penelope ReVelle of Boston, Brenda ReVelle of Orange, CA, Beryl Schwartztrauber of Reston, VA, Carol Johnston of Indianapolis and brothers-in-law Robert Johnston of New York City and Tom Johnston of Reston. His dog Moonbeam was his constant companion for the last two years. Together they made many friends around the Barranca School neighborhood. He took great joy in her company—she was always happy and mellow and kept Doug’s spirits high.

Doug and his wife were gold medalists in doubles shuffleboard at the NM Senior Olympic State Games in Las Cruces, NM. They also enjoyed traveling, hiking and watching old movies.


A memorial service is planned for the Betty Ehart Senior Center on Sunday, May 23rd at 4 p.m. Rabbi Jack Shlachter will lead the service. Ann, David and Peter welcome e-mail from friends and neighbors. Contact Marilyn Yeamans before visiting or calling or for e-mail information. Doug’s remains were cremated on Tuesday, May 4th, in Albuquerque. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Jewish Family Service of New Mexico, 5520 Wyoming Blvd. NE, Suite 200, Albuquerque, NM 87109 E-mail: info@jfsnm.org; to the Rabbi’s Fund at Los Alamos Jewish Center, PO Box 1114, Los Alamos, NM 87544; or to the Los Alamos Heart Council, P.O. Box 749, Los Alamos, NM 87544.