Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Myron Lecar Papers, 1956-2010
Myron "Mike" Lecar was born on April 10, 1930 in Brooklyn, New York. He received an S.B. in industrial engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1951 and an M.S. in industrial engineering from Case Institute of Technology in 1953. From 1954 to 1958, Lecar served as an officer in the U. S. Navy, developing and teaching nuclear weapons technology and working on Project Vanguard.
Later he studied astronomy at Yale University and received his Ph.D. in 1963 carrying out some of the earliest computer modeling of stellar atmospheres. As a graduate student, Lecar was one of the founding members of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies at Columbia University in 1962.
Acting on an invitation of Fred Whipple, Lecar joined the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) in 1965. While at SAO, Lecar's research interests included gravitational dynamics, planet formation, and the dynamics of our solar system. The author or co-author of more than 90 scientific articles, Lecar was also the principle investigator on a grant from the Smithsonian Institution to collaborate with Tel Aviv University in the planning, construction and commissioning of the Wise Observatory in the Negev desert in Israel. Before his retirement as Senior Astrophysicist in 2009, Lecar was a founding member of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative.
On May 30, 2005, Lecar married Rosemary Johnson in Belmont, Massachusetts after having been a part of each other's lives for some 27 years. At the age of 81, Lecar passed away in 2011.
This accession consists of materials that document the professional and personal life of SAO astrophysicist, Myron Lecar. A significant portion of the records consist of materials related to Lecar's work on the planning and construction of the Florence and George Wise Observatory in Israel. The other significant portion consists of personal journals that Lecar kept that documented his personal life, his thoughts, and his interactions with the people around him. Materials include correspondence, memoranda, grant proposals, reports, financial records, publicity materials, press releases, journals, brochures, images, curriculum vitae, clippings, and other related records.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Lecar, Myron
- Johnson, Rosemary
- Whipple, Fred L. (Fred Lawrence), 1906-2004
- Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
- Universitat Tel-Aviv
- Florence and George Wise Observatory
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Case Institute of Technology
- Yale University
- United States. Navy
- Project Vanguard
- Columbia University
- Goddard Institute for Space Studies
- Harvard Origins of Life Initiative
- Gravitational fields
- Planets -- Origin
- Astronomical observatories
- Solar system
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 18-058, Myron Lecar Papers