I just received word from his wife of the death of Jean Tate on November 6. Jean was a long-time presence on Cosmoquest and its predecessor, the Bad Astronomy Bulletin Board (IIRC originally posting as Nereid). Poorly expressed ideas often felt the clarity of his logic, and a wide variety of threads felt his range of knowledge.

Jean was usually dedicated to as much privacy as one can preserve while being active in online fora and projects (to the point that many colleagues were unaware of his gender until now). This led to subterfuges such as being listed in NASA proposals as part of the Oxford astronomy department on the theory that it was the nominal home of Galaxy Zoo. Jean was one of the "supervolunteers" in Galaxy Zoo and particularly Radio Galaxy Zoo, effectively leading two major initiatives in RGZ. He did 1/3 of the work collecting public input and selecting targets to be observed in the Gems of the Galaxy Zoos Hubble program. Several of us hope to make sure that as much as possible of his research results from these programs are published in full. Even in his earlier interactions in Galaxy Zoo, he consistently pushed the science team to do our best work. He taught himself to use some of the software tools normally employed by professional astronomers, and was a full colleague in some of the Galaxy Zoo research projects.

Jean was married for 27 years, and had family scattered in both hemispheres with whom he enjoyed fairly recent visits. Mentions in email over the years had made me aware that he had a protracted struggle with cancer, to the extent that someday his case may be eventually identifiable in medical research. He tracked his mental processes, knowing how to time research tasks in the chemotherapy cycle to use his best days for various kinds of thinking. Emails had gone unanswered long enough that I was beginning to worry, and the worst was eventually confirmed.

To the memory of Jean Tate. Honored Member.