In Memory of Peter G. Mezger

We were all saddened to hear the news about Peter Mezger’s death. He was a pioneer of radio astronomy both in Germany and in the U.S. where he played major roles in the early years of the 140-ft and 36-ft radio telescopes. My NRAO colleagues join me in sending our respects to Peter’s friends and colleagues at the MPIfR.


Tony Beasley, director, and Ken Kellerman, senior scientist,
National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Mit dieser Email möchte ich mein Beileid zum Tode von P.G. Mezger, dem langjährigen Direktor am MPIfR, zum Ausdruck bringen. Ich konnte leider nicht persönlich zur Beerdigung kommen, zumal ich bei ESO/ALMA in Chile bin (wo ich Pierre Cox informiert habe).
P.G. Mezger, der Vater der submm Astronomie in Deutschland und ein Geburtshelfer für das Flugzeug-Observatorium SOFIA, hat mein eigenes Wissenschaftlerleben mit beeinflusst, als er mir 1990 den Tipp gab, nach Osten zu schauen (d.h. AIP Potsdam, wo ich dann später auch gelandet bin). Für seine Weitsicht bin ich ihm dankbar. Auch für zahlreiche wissenschaftliche Diskussionen zur Sternentstehung.

Hans Zinnecker,
deputy director SOFIA Science Mission Operations (NASA-Ames, California)

As one of Peter Mezger's early Ph.D. advisee's I am very much indebted to Peter for his advice and guidance during my early career. Peter was always fair in his dealings with me. He was very supportive in helping me get my position at the University of Wisconsin. I also believe Peter played an integral role in getting German Radioastronomy into the modern era. My condolences to his family and friends at MPIfR. His passing is a great loss to the radio astronomy community in Germany and the international community. He will be missed.

Ed Churchwell

Dear colleagues,

I would like to express my deepest condolences on the death of Professor Dr. Peter Mezger. My thoughts are with you and your family at this most difficult time of loss. I appreciate him for his great contribution to radio astronomy for long years.

Yoshiaki Hagiwara
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan
Mizusawa VLBI Observatory

I have just now discovered that Peter Mezger passed away two years ago. I am deeply saddened to hear of this.
I worked for Peter at NRAO in Green Bank, starting in 1964. Peter created the “Millimeter Lab” with me as his technician. In the very beginning we built simple mixer receivers using homemade point-contact Schottky GaAs diodes and travelling-wave tube IFs. He was a delight to work for; he told me what he wanted and then left me to go on with the work. Periodically he would drop in to check on my progress, look things over, make helpful suggestions, and then leave saying “Nah, ven it verks, call me”. At one point, he asked me “Who gives you your pay raises?” I said I didn’t know, so off he went to make sure I was taken care of. Peter was that type of person.
I am immensely proud that could make a small contribution to his detection of the H 109 alpha recombination line on the 140 ft telescope at Green Bank. I’ll miss him.

Neil P. Albaugh
Tucson, AZ

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