Memorial for UMass Astronomy Department Professor Judy Young

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Judy Young, University of Massachusetts Astronomy Professor and longtime resident of Amherst, passed away in the early morning Friday, May 23, 2014.

Judy was born Sept. 15, 1952, to Bob and Vera Rubin, the latter a noted astronomer whose teachings on black holes inspired Judy to become an astronomer as well. Judy earned a bachelor's degree with honors from Radcliffe/Harvard University in 1974 and a doctorate in physics from the University of Minnesota in 1979.

Judy served as professor of astronomy at UMass from 1993 to 2013. Her work on star formation in galaxies earned international recognition and many awards throughout her distinguished career. She was a tireless support and friend to the many students she mentored, who remember her for her dedication, passion, humor and warmth. She dreamed up and built the UMass Sunwheel, a stone circle whose 8-10 ft. standing stones line up with the rising and setting sun during solstices and equinoxes. Judy led seasonal sunrise and sunset gatherings at the Sunwheel, making the connections between sky and earth real for over 8,000 visitors. Judy enthusiastically shared not only her knowledge and passion for science with those around her, but also her deep love of living.

There will be two memorial services held in her honor:

1) On Wednesday June 4th, at 7 pm, friends and family of Judy Young will gather at the UMass Sunwheel to celebrate Judy's life with songs, silence, and stories, led by Gabrielli LaChiara. This gathering will be held rain or shine, under the open sky. Please come prepared, whether that means bringing a folding chair, an umbrella, or leaving your shoes in the car!

2) On Thursday June 5th, at 10 am, friends and family will gather at the Jewish Community of Amherst for a more traditional Jewish memorial service led by Rabbi Weiner, followed by a social hour and snacks.

Please share information about the two memorial services with anyone who knew Judy.