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Dr. Donald W. Schuerman Memorial Fund

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Dr. Donald W. Schuerman

This fund was established in 2006 by the non-profit CareGiving Worldwide, Inc., in memory of Dr. Donald W. Schuerman, to support research activity for students in the Department of Astronomy in UF’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Schuerman was just 38 years old when an automobile accident in Gainesville prematurely ended his promising career as an astrophysicist, leaving behind his wife and two young children. He was an elected member of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the International Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). He was also a member of the American and Royal Astronomical Societies. In his relatively short seven years as senior scientist with the Space Astronomy Laboratory (SAL), first at SUNY Albany and later at UF, he made major theoretical and experimental contributions to our knowledge and understanding of dust in the solar system and in comets.

Don was born on July 13, 1943 in Cincinnati, OH and earned his PhD in physics from the University of Rochester in 1968, after which he was selected to manage the NASA/Johnson Space Center UV rocket program in Houston. In 1972 he joined the Dudley Observatory in Albany, NY where he worked on a Skylab coronagraph experiment designed to measure atmospheric aerosols in the Earth’s atmosphere and contaminant particulates around the Skylab, the first manned space station. That experiment introduced him to some of the many scientific applications involving light scattered by small particles, thereafter remaining his chosen field of interest.

Don joined SUNY Albany’s SAL in 1975, working there until SAL relocated to UF’s Department of Astronomy in 1980. At SAL he worked on various theoretical topics and laboratory experiments and on space experiments on several space missions, including the Earth-orbiting Skylab, the Pioneer 10 and 11 first deep space probes, the International Solar Polar Mission probe (Ulysses), the first astronomy experiment on the Space Shuttle’s first scientific mission in March 1982, and the European Space Agency Giotto space probe to Comet Halley; contributing significantly to all of this up to his untimely death in May, 1982.

Don’s work ethic and passionate search for scientific understanding together with his contagious smile, ever ready wit, and zest for life will remain forever with his family, colleagues, and friends.

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