Obituary of Retired Professor William A. (Bill) Dent

Monday, September 14, 2020
The Astronomy Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is saddened to report the passing of retired Full Professor William A. (Bill) Dent. Professor Dent was a key founder of the observational aspect of the Astronomy Program at UMass Amherst. As a graduate student at the University of Michigan Bill had made the amazing discovery that the brightness of what were called quasi-stellar radio sources (quasars) varied with time. This required that the physical sizes of these objects be vastly smaller than had been postulated; many years later we have learned that quasars contain supermassive black holes, often with masses of billions of times the mass of our Sun.

Bill Dent with students in 1969

Bill Dent with students in 1969