Of Comets and Meteors

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Science  04 Aug 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5480, pp. 728
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5480.728

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Fred L. Whipple was born in Iowa in 1906. During his career as an astronomer, he discovered six comets and advanced the study of comets and meteors. He has encouraged amateur astronomers and advised many U.S. governmental and scientific agencies. He deduced that comets consist of ice and dust from observing that their orbits and timing change slightly through the gas vaporization from the ices. In this essay, he recounts highlights of his career, including developing radar-disrupting chaff and the promise of the global positioning system.