Fall 2020 Department News

Nadine Gail Barlow (1958-2020)

Professor Nadine Barlow died on August 17. Nadine was an alumna of the University of Arizona, where she earned a B.S. in Astronomy (1980) and a Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences from LPL in 1987. Nadine's research interests spanned impact cratering on planets and satellites throughout the solar system, from Mercury to Pluto and her curiosity about cratering processes increased along with the reach of our satellite explorations. Her dissertation (Relative Ages and the Geologic History of Martian Terrain Units) mapped, measured, and classified every crater on the entire planet larger than 8 km (5 miles) in diameter. These data were used to establish the detailed relative chronology of Martian geologic features. Nadine maintained and expanded this database throughout her career as later spacecraft missions returned increasingly detailed images of the planet.

After completing her Ph.D., Nadine held postdoctoral appointments at the Lunar and Planetary Institute and NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. In 1998, she became an Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, where she was recognized with the 2002 University Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award.  Nadine joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in 2002, becoming Department Chair of Astronomy and Planetary Science in 2010. At NAU, Professor Barlow was the recipient of numerous awards for teaching excellence and was largely responsible for doubling the size of the department and developing its curriculum into that of a doctoral program. Professor Barlow supervised many students over the years, both undergraduate and graduate, and was a popular mentor and friend to those students. A prize for Undergraduate Research Exellence is being established at NAU's Department of Astronomy and Planetary Sciences in her name.

Professor Barlow was active in the science community, serving on boards and committees of many professional societies, organizing meetings and consortia to facilitate scientific discussion and collaboration, and publishing numerous papers in the scientific literature. Academic outreach was a priority; Nadine introduced the Arizona Space Grant Program to NAU, and fostered cooperation between NAU, Lowell Observatory, and the U.S. Geological Survey.  Asteroid 15466 Barlow is named in her honor.

(Excerpted from Arizona Daily Sun, September 1, 2020)