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  • Douglas G. Currie
  • Douglas G. Currie

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    Wall of Honor Level:
    Air and Space Leader

    Honored by:
    Margaret Zurka Currie

    Douglas G. Currie, Professor of Physics in the Department of Physics, University of Maryland, College Park was a principal on the team that proposed and developed the retroreflectors that were deployed during the Apollo 11, 14 and 15 missions. He developed the Lunar Laser Ranging Observatory at McDonald Observatory, the primary lunar laser ranging observatory. During the past 45 years this program has provided some of the best tests of the properties of Gravity and General Relativity as well as discovering that the liquid core of the moon. Professor Currie developed a technique to obtain extremely high resolution and measured the diameters and atmospheres of a variety of stars using the 200-inch telescope on Palomar Mountain and the 100-inch telescope on Mt. Wilson. In the 1970s, he joined the team that proposed, fabricated and used the Wide Field/Planetary Camera of the Hubble Space Telescope to explore outer space and the solar system. Using the camera data he extensively investigated the exploding super-massive star, eta Carina. He developed programs for the analysis of Adaptive Optics data during his two years at the European Southern Observatory in Garching, Germany. Since 2006 he has led an international team to develop and deploy the “Lunar Laser Ranging Retroreflector Arrays for the 21st Century”, the next generation lunar retroreflector to improve the tests of Gravitation and General Relativity by one or two orders of magnitude. This will address the variety of theories that have recently been proposed to explain Dark Energy. He graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Engineering Physics in 1958. He received his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from the University of Rochester in 1962. He was an NSF Fellow at Princeton University before accepting a position at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has over 200 published papers and presentations at various conferences and symposia.
    He is proud of his Scottish heritage that goes back to the early Irish kings of the second century. He is a member of the United Memorial Methodist Church in Washington DC, the Cosmos Club, the Color Guard of St. Andrews Society of Washington and various professional organizations. He married Margaret Zurka, a graduate of Elmira College. His spouse and his two daughters, Suzanne T. and Jennifer A. are responsible for this entry.

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