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Arthur F. Davidsen ’66

Published in Jan. 30, 2002, issue

The class lost one of our country's most distinguished astrophysicists when Art Davidsen died July 19, 2001. Art had a recurring lung disorder, and died in the arms of his wife, Frauke. He was 57.

Art came to Princeton from Freeport, N.Y., and roomed with Steve Reich '66, T. R. Reid '66, and Fred Talcott '66. That's the crew that invented J.D. Oznot '68, and Art was at the center of the plot. He took Oznot's SAT exams and was furious that he scored only 792 on the math test. Art played many instruments and was the mainstay of a rock band that included Dave Kidd '66. After serving on a destroyer during Vietnam and earning a PhD in astronomy at Berkeley, Art joined the physics faculty at Johns Hopkins. The NY Times wrote that he was the "prime mover in transforming the university into an astronomical powerhouse." Art was one of the world's leading experts on the intergalactic medium, the primordial ooze left over from the Big Bang. The license plate on his beloved Harley-Davidson Fatboy read "HUT-PI," representing another of his titles, principal investigator for the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope.

He is survived by Frauke, two sons, and two stepsons.

The Class of 1966

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