A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2013 Oct 11, 12:11 -0700
I have just learned that George Brandenburg, a NavList member for nearly four years, passed away last month at age 69. He was one of our resident physicists --a serious professional physicist in his case who was involved, for example, in the discovery of the Higgs boson. After his retirement, he became fascinated with celestial navigation and made himself an expert in the life of Nathaniel Bowditch. He conducted a seminar on Bowditch's life and works a few years ago. He also organized education and interpretation of celestial navigation. We met a half dozen times, and I greatly valued his conversations and his sense of humor. Quite a few other NavList members have met him. He participated in my '19th Century Methods' class in 2009. He attended the 2010 Navigation Weekend conference at Mystic Seaport. And he also met with a group of us for dinner in Mystic back in the winter of 2011. He had generously offered to help organize the next Navigation Weekend conference. Here is a link to George's contributions to NavList discussions during the past few years: http://www.fer3.com/arc/sort2.aspx?y=201005&y2=201303&subject=&author=brandenburg
The closing line of the obituary in the Salem News reads:
"George was blessed with a keen mind, a gentle spirit, and a generous heart. He had a family and many friends who loved him. We celebrate a life well lived."
There is another article about his life on the web site of the National Park Service which is not currently available except via cached copies. Therefore I am adding the full text here:
"SALEM MARITIME NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
Passing of Beloved Volunteer Dr. George Brandenburg
The staff and volunteers of Salem Maritime National Historic Site are mourning the unexpected passing of beloved park volunteer George Brandenburg. George was the embodiment of the National Park Service's dedication to education and youth engagement. His esteemed professional accomplishments and passion for teaching benefited numerous visitors to the park, including hundreds of local school students and teachers that attended his program, "Nathaniel Bowditch: A Salem Hero."
George earned his Bachelor of Science and doctorate degrees in physics from Harvard University, and then held appointments at the Max Planck Institute in Munich, Germany, the Stanford Linear Accelerator Laboratory in Palo Alto, Calif., and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For 28 years, he served as director of the High Energy Physics Laboratory, and senior research fellow and lecturer in physics at Harvard, where he particularly enjoyed teaching and mentoring young physicists. Just prior to his retirement in 2008, he worked on the Atlas experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. He was proud and excited to have contributed to the discovery of the Higgs Boson.
In addition to his love of physics and teaching, George pursued many other interests, among them was singing in a number of different choral groups, piloting his own small airplane, skiing, traveling, and especially, sailing. Since moving from Lexington to Salem, Mass., in 2006, George became interested in maritime history, celestial navigation and Nathaniel Bowditch. He shared his knowledge and enthusiasm with groups of all ages, volunteering for the National Park Service, including aboard the Friendship of Salem. He also led interpretive programs in the public schools, lectured at the Salem Athenaeum, and was recently on the board of Historic Salem, Inc.
In addition to his work with public visitation aboard Friendship, George interpreted to hundreds of students and teachers. George created a program on navigation and Nathaniel Bowditch that he presented at 6 of the 7 elementary schools in Salem this past spring. George developed the in-school program, "Nathaniel Bowditch: A Salem Hero," and tweaked his design after a couple of pilot programs. He always had a captive audience and set a tone that students responded to and respected. They did not mistake his quiet and calm demeanor for weakness or a lack of authority. It was a pleasure to see that interaction between George (or Mr. B as he asked the students to call him) and the young people of today. He had a way of sharing his knowledge and passion that was accessible to all ages and skill levels.
George is survived by his wife of 48 years, Ellen Brandenburg; daughter, Anna Brandenburg of Concord, N.H.; and by son, Peter Brandenburg and his wife, Krisztina Holly of Los Angeles; and his brother, John Brandenburg, of Maple Grove, Minn. George was blessed with a keen mind, a gentle spirit, and a generous heart. He had a family and many friends who loved him. We celebrate a life well lived."
Sad news... I can't find any other words.
Conanicut Island USA
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