Robert V. Stachnik
March 30, 1947 – November 29, 2014
Robert V. Stachnik, age 67, of Newark, DE, passed away on November 29, 2014.
Born March 30, 1947 in Yonkers, NY, he was the son of the late Victor and Catherine Stachnik. Bob grew up in Seaford, NY and graduated from Chaminade High School. He earned a degree in Astronomy from Villanova and a PhD in Astrophysics from State University of New York at Stony Brook. He worked at Itek Corporation as an Electro-Optical Scientist and later joined Harvard University as a research scientist.
Throughout his career as an astronomer, Bob did pioneering work on modern astronomical image processing. He collaborated with Antoine Labeyrie in the first applications of speckle interferometry to the problem of measuring the diameters of distant stars that were blurred by the Earth’s atmosphere, referred to by the press as “de-twinkling the stars”. He started this work as a graduate student and continued for more that a decade at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He continued his love of astrophysics and space exploration at NASA headquarters as a senior scientist and Program Manager of NASA’s Astrophysics Division, where he spent another decade managing astrophysics research programs funded by NASA at universities, institutes and observatories nationwide. After retiring from NASA he moved to Newark, DE and became the chief scientist at Testex Inc.
Bob maintained his friendships with astronomers and physicist around the world through scientific collaborations and travel. He was a member of AAS, ASTM, NACE, SSPC, ISO. He was known for his constant smile and generous nature. He was dedicated to a number of social and political causes, promoting justice for all.
Bob is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen; son , Alexander; brothers Joseph of Landenberg, PA and Richard (Barbara) of Mastic, NY; and sister, Marion (Dave Weston) of Newark, DE.
A visitation for family and friends will be held from 10 am until 11:30 am on Friday morning, December 5, 2014, at the Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 121 W. Park Place, Newark, DE. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to CARE, Attn: Gift Center, P.O. Box 7039, Merrifield VA 22116-9753, or Doctors Without Borders USA, P.O. Box 5030, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5030 or U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 125 Maiden Lane, New York, NY 10038.