Memories of Neil Gehrels





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I hadn't the opportunity to know Neil very well, only in the LAT meetings twice a year. However it has been enough to appreciate his enthusiastic approach to everything. What impressed me since the first times was his quiet but strong leadership and I liked the way he used to spread it: by example.

Added: March 3, 2017
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Neil was an oustanding leader of high energy astrophysics and a good friend to everyone who worked in the field. Absolutely everyone who had any contact him would say 'Neil's a great man, he really helped me'. I never heard anything other than very positive comments about him, which is almost unique in astronomy. He was a true gentleman. You could ask him anything without fear of being sent away with a flea in your ear. His leadership of the Swift mission was tremendous, wonderfully fulfilling the original mission goals regarding Gamma-ray bursts but also adapting rapidly to new science questions and keeping Swift consistently at the top of the NASA Senior Reviews. Without his support, the Swift AGN reverberation campaigns would not have been possible and all AGN scientists are extremely grateful. He leaves a great legacy over many fields. He is an extremely hard act to follow and will be very, very, deeply missed.

Added: March 3, 2017
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Neil was an enthusiastic scientist and one who quietly led by example, both professionally and personally. He will be greatly missed.

Added: March 2, 2017
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Hard to believe that Neil will not be among us any longer. Neil has been a wonderful person, always attentive to science topics as well as personal aspects of life, and never burried by administrative or managerial distractions that kill so much of our quality life. Not many people stand straight as Neil did. We will miss him.

Added: March 1, 2017
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Neil was a gentleman and a scholar, but most of all a wonderful and thoughtful human being. He will be sorely missed.

Added: February 27, 2017
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I have known Dr. Neil Gehrels since 2003 and served with him on the End Time Harvest Ministries Board of Directors since 2012.Neil was a giant in terms of his contributions to youth and their families in the Port Towns area and beyond. His support of the goals of End Time Harvest Ministries was consistent, generous, and critical. I will miss him as a friend and confidant. My sincere sympathies to the Gehrels family.
Obie Pinckney Jr.
ETHM Board Chair


Added: February 25, 2017
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Every time Neil and I worked together, on the Swift Senior Review, Lobster/TAP proposal, etc. he so generously shared with me his vast understanding of high energy astrophysics and his gift of leadership by example. It was always a great pleasure and a rewarding experience. i will miss him a lot, together with everyone in his extended gamma-ray community. We are all so proud of your accomplishments, and your caring stewardship in this field.

Added: February 22, 2017
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I used to work at the Swift MOC. He was a constant at our daily meetings, calling in on the phone. I remember being truly impressed by his dedication to react so quickly to the many observation requests coming in day and night. He will be missed for sure. My condolences for his family and friends.

Added: February 22, 2017
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Neil was an outstanding scientist and a remarkable person. As a scientist, he had a vision which led him to « grow » from a brilliant gamma-ray astronomer, to a world leading GRB scientist, and then to a major player in the development of time domain astronomy. As a person he was astonishingly easy to reach despite his great responsibilities, he always found the time to advise young scientists and more experimented colleagues within his incredible professional network. Neil was a truly unique person and a bright example, we will miss him.

Added: February 16, 2017
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I am shocked by the sudden passing of Neil. Throughout my entire professional life, I had the privilege of working together with Neil. In the beginning on Compton-GRO, most of the time, however, on INTEGRAL.

With his profound scientific knowledge and his experience managing complex space science projects, Neil provided invaluable support to the design and development of the INTEGRAL observatory mission from the first day onwards. Nuclear spectroscopy with GRIS and NAE, technology development of high-resolution Germanium detectors and his experience as Project Scientist of NASA's Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory were key contributions to the development of the INTEGRAL observatory mission.

Neil served as a member of the ESA science study teams during the early Assessment Phase in 1990/91 and during the Phase A 1992/1993. After selection of the INTEGRAL mission by ESA in 1993, he was appointed Mission Scientist, representing NASA and the US high-energy astrophysics community, as early as 1995. From that point onwards, he continuously served, for more than 20 years, as a member of the INTEGRAL Science Working Team, which became later the INTEGRAL Users Group.

Among the various tasks which were taken up by Neil was the creation and maintenance of the INTEGRAL US Guest Observer Facility established at HEASARC/GSFC and his key contributions during the design and development of the Core Observing Programme of the INTEGRAL Mission.

Neil's ideas, scientific advice, contributions and critical reviews through all phases of the mission development, were of great value and importance for the mission.

I will miss Neil, his kindness and expertise. A very dear colleague and a great high-energy astrophysicist.


Added: February 15, 2017
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