Memories of Neil Gehrels





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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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I knew Neil when I was an undergrad working in the Space Radiation Lab at Caltech... I remember how he was a great guy to be around, brilliant, cheerful and encouraging to the rest of us. He and Ellen were welcoming to everyone, and I remember their wedding fondly. My condolences to his family.

Added: February 13, 2017
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I’m privileged to have worked under Neil’s leadership sphere here at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center since he assumed the CGRO project scientist role in 1991. I’ve witnessed firsthand his seemingly effortless problem solving abilities, his exceptional scientific and strategic instincts, his skills in building consensus among well-intentioned but oft opinionated professional colleagues and his ever-present warmth and humility. The example he has set has helped me strive to be a better person. Words cannot express the magnitude of this tragic loss to NASA, the scientific community and humanity. For now we can only mourn this loss and hope for a future era when the world is free from the ravages of cancer.

Added: February 13, 2017
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Neil was a great person, a great and inspiring scientist. He had also a deep "humanity", always taking care of others, and a kind person. He leaves a tremendous record of achievements, and we will deeply regret and remember him.

Added: February 13, 2017
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