June 5, 2015

Dear Members of our Campus Community,

I am deeply saddened to share with you the news that our respected colleague and friend Professor Stan Peale passed away on May 14 from complications of leukemia. He was surrounded by his family and friends prior to and at the time of his passing.

We remember Stan as an extraordinary professor and colleague, a devoted teacher and mentor, and a central member of our Department of Physics for nearly five decades. A brilliant planetary scientist, his career was marked by tremendous achievements and prestigious recognitions, including the Newcomb Cleveland Prize, the James Craig Watson Medal, the Brouwer Award, and his election in 2009 to the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Peale joined UC Santa Barbara in 1968, after obtaining his B.S. from Purdue University and his Ph.D. in astronomy from Cornell University, and spending three years on the faculty at UCLA. He was a pioneer in his field, renowned for his research on tidal evolution in satellite systems and his derivation of a general theoretical framework that governs the rotational states of bodies subject to tides. In 1979, he and his research collaborators predicted volcanic activity on Jupiter’s moon Io, just before the Voyager 1 mission discovered evidence of that activity. He made unique contributions to the study of planet formation, advancing understanding of the dynamics of solar system bodies and extrasolar planets as well. Just days before his passing, he submitted for publication his most recent work on the internal structure of Mercury, a complex problem he had been working on for his entire career. He wrote a famous short paper in 1976 suggesting that Mercury has a molten core, and in 2012 was a co-author on papers from the NASA Messenger mission with evidence about the detailed structure of that core.

Professor Peale was a person of tremendous vision. His research spanned the universe, and his legacy will be carried forward by the lasting influence of his work and his impact on all the students and colleagues who were challenged and inspired by him.

Our hearts go out to Stan’s wife, Priscilla; to their sons, Robert and Douglas; and to the rest of their family and many friends. Stan will be deeply missed by all the members of our UCSB family.

Today, June 5, our Physics Department will host a memorial in the courtyard of Broida Hall from 2 to 4 p.m. to celebrate Stan’s life and to honor the remarkable depth and breadth of his contributions to our academic community and our world.

On June 9, our campus flag will be lowered to half-staff in honor and memory of Professor Peale.


Henry T. Yang