November 7, 2011 — Robert Rood, professor emeritus of astronomy in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences, died Nov. 2 after suffering a stroke while at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. He had been en route to Italy to collaborate with colleagues.
A memorial service will be held Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. in the University Chapel, with a reception following at McCormick Observatory.
Rood joined the astronomy department in 1973. He became a full professor in 1992 and was department chair from 1999 through 2006. A respected teacher and researcher, he retired in May, but remained actively involved in research.
His research spanned both theoretical studies of how stars evolve over time and observational studies of star clusters and interstellar gas in the Milky Way.
After studying at North Carolina State University, he earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969 and conducted postdoctoral research at the California Institute of Technology. He also collaborated with colleagues worldwide, particularly in Bologna, Italy, but also in Green Bank, W.Va., and Bonn, Germany.
"Bob will also be remembered by the many students whose lives he touched, as an adviser, a mentor and as a teacher," John Hawley, astronomy department chair, said. "His course on 'Life Beyond the Earth' was a perennial favorite with students, always receiving high evaluations.
"Bob will be greatly missed by all of us who knew of his strong commitment to astronomy, to the department, to his colleagues and his students."