Edward Lowell Chupp
Edward Lowell Chupp
  • May 14, 1927 - February 21, 2017
  • Madison, Connecticut

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Edward Lowell Chupp, of Madison, died on February 21, 2017 at his residence. Ed was born on May 14, 1927, in Lincoln, Nebraska, the son of William and Marie (Moller) Chupp. Ed married the late Mary Miklos Chupp in 1950, and he is survived by their children Timothy Chupp (Martine), Christine Chupp Greenwood (Tom), and Geoffrey Chupp (Barbara) as well as eight grandchildren, Christopher, Taylor, Billy, Theo, Lisa, Ethan, Marika and Scott (and three grand-dogs, all standard poodles, Dash, Jasper and Lola).

Ed graduated from Fremont High School in Nebraska in 1945. He enlisted in the Navy in June, 1945, serving on the USS Cowpens in the Pacific as an electrician and fireman until the end of the war in August. Ed enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his BSc in 1950, and PhD in 1954. He went on to work at Livermore National Laboratory from 1954-1957; was Chief of the Geophysics Division at Boeing from 1959-1962; and was a Professor at the University of New Hampshire from 1962-2007.

At the University of New Hampshire, Ed established the solar physics group that became the best in the country, according to Dr. Hans Mark, a Livermore colleague who served as Deputy Administrator of NASA. Dr. Chupp's group focused their efforts on detecting gamma-rays, the signatures of nuclear reactions in the cosmos. Ed was Principal Investigator for two gamma-ray spectrometers placed on NASA solar satellites: the "Orbiting Solar Observatory" OSO 7 (OSO H) which flew from 1971-1974 and the Solar Maximum Mission, which flew from 1980 to 1989 and was the first satellite to be repaired by astronauts in a space manned space shuttle mission in 1984, paving the way for later missions such as the 2008 repair of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Ed was a pioneer in space and solar physics and received numerous awards including the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, NATO, Fulbright and Alexander von Humbolt fellowships, he was a fellow of the Explorers' Club and the American Physical Society and Chair of the Astrophysics Division from 1992-93, when he helped establish the Society's Hans-Bethe Prize together with the Division of Nuclear Physics.

Ed's balloon and satellite instruments made a slew of discoveries including the first cosmic detection of gamma rays from nuclear reactions during increased solar activity in 1972 proving that neutrons are produced in solar flares, detection of the annihilation of antimatter particles - positrons (the antiparticles of electrons), and the discovery of gamma rays from pulsars. The field of gamma-ray astronomy, founded on many of Ed's seminal contributions, has blossomed into an essential window into the cosmos summarized in Dr. Chupp's 1976 book entitled "Gamma Ray Astronomy - Nuclear Transition Region."

A private memorial gathering took place in early March. Donations may be made in Memory of Edward L. Chupp to: "The Hearth at Tuxis Pond Employee Fund, c/o Annie Hoefferle, 100 Bradley Road, Madison, CT 06443."