Shortly after my Ph.D. was finished (1961), I joined the faculty of the Department of Physics as a Professor and served in that role for 40 years. Our group began to study x rays that come from different "stars" in our Milky Way Galaxy; we call it x-ray astronomy. This was a brand new field. Our research was all done from rockets, balloons, and satellites; it was an exciting field to be in. I was deeply involved in x-ray astronomy experiments with sounding rockets launched from White Sands Missile Range and then with the NASA satellite experiments, SAS-3 (launched 1975), HEAO-1 (1979), and RXTE (1995). We provided instruments and did science with the data that was telemetered to the ground. The latter mission (The Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer) returned data to world-wide observers for 16 years, from 1996 to 2012.
The Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer project took Hale and his colleagues nearly 20 years to bring to fruition. The extraordinary amount of data it collected lead to a 1999 award, the Rossi Prize, presented by the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society; Three subsequent years of the same prize were given for research that used his RXT Explorer.
Pictured here, Hale and three colleagues with a replica of the "All Sky Monitor" that he (at MIT) built and flew on the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer . Learn more about this extraordinary project at xte.mit.edu.
I have been retired from MIT for almost 12 years now, but I do attend seminars there and serve as academic advisor to six to nine MIT freshman women each year. My wife and I also get to quite a few concerts of chamber music groups, opera, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Our travels often are to attend astronomy
conferences, and for many years we visited the Observatory of Rome in Italy for several weeks each year. We developed many friends there. We had a sabbatical leave there in 1997. My previous sabbaticals were in Chile and Japan. I learned enough of each language to get along on the street, but not to converse socially with comfort and understanding, and have now forgotten most of what I knew (except Italian).
On the domestic side, I will have been married to my bride for 55 years this July. Our two daughters are each married to a "Bart" (be assured that they are two different wonderful guys). The older daughter is 53 (I cannot believe it!) and is a Veterinarian who has her own practice in our town of Salem, Massachusetts. We never let her have pets as a child, which surely intensified her love of animals. Now she has dogs and cats at home, and we have learned to love them. Her two children are in or just out of college. The other daughter works in Portland, Maine for a health organization. She is close enough so we see her every month or two.
This past June, after driving to my Princeton reunion, from Massachusetts, I drove on to visit siblings, cousins and step relatives in Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, and New York. I did this all myself in 200 to 400 mile legs. It took 29 days and 4700 miles and took me through 21states. I met 71 relatives (which is easy when a cousin's two children show up, each with three or four kids). I did all this solo. It was a wonderful and memorable trip that reconnected me to family and to our wonderful country.
I have kept in touch with Gerry Iannelli and George Miller who are both recently deceased and also with Peter Blaxill.
I am quite healthy and mobile at this time but was quite fortunate to come through a bout of life threatening lymphoma in 1976 at age 45. I went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments and it went away. Later in 1995, I had coronary bypass surgery and that is holding up so far. Most people my age have similar stories, but not all are so fortunate. I did learn something from the lymphoma episode, namely that one’s work is a source of great satisfaction in our lives. One can only relax and smell the roses (as some advised me at the time) only so long without getting awfully bored.
All in all, Dottie and I feel fortunate that we are still both around to keep each other company and to enjoy the accomplishments of our children and grandchildren as well as those of the many other younger persons we meet at conferences and elsewhere.