University of California, San Diego
September 7, 2007
ALL ACADEMICS AND STAFF AT UCSD
ALL STUDENTS AT UCSD
Professor Harding "Gene" Smith passed away Thursday, August 16, 2007 as a result of injuries sustained in a serious automobile accident earlier in the day. Gene's untimely passing was a great loss for the Division of Physical Sciences and UCSD. He will be missed greatly by his colleagues and friends.
A memorial event was held at the Quail Botanical Gardens in Encinitas on August 23. In lieu of flowers, the family requested planting a rose, fuschia or fern in a garden (Gene was rather fond of gardening, and those were among his favorites), and/or making a donation to your preferred nature conservancy organization (e.g., the Sierra Club).
Gene received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and did his postdoctoral work at the University of California, San Diego. As a Professor of Physics at UCSD, his research evolved to using quasars to study star-formation in the early universe. He was very active in the early days of the Keck telescope, when it was still unfunded and known as the UC Ten Meter Telescope in the early 1980s. He also helped the Mt. Lemmon Observatory effort considerably.
Throughout the 1990s, Gene used a network of telescopes around the globe to investigate whether star-formation or active galactic nuclei power ultra-luminous galaxies. Recently, he collaborated with his wife, Carol Lonsdale, and served as the Deputy Principal Investigator of SWIRE, the largest Legacy Program using the Spitzer Space Telescope to investigate the evolution of star-formation and the growth of super-massive black holes throughout the universe over the last 10 billion years.
Gene was a very popular teacher, who was especially good at entertaining large classes. His very relaxed style of teaching captured the students' attention, and he went out of his way to create new demonstrations and unique labs. He was regarded by the undergraduates as one of the best and most caring professors they had had.
On behalf of the Division of Physical Sciences, I want to express our deep condolences to Gene's family and friends.