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Robert Weber, Lincoln Lab physicist, 81

Physicist and astronomer Robert Weber (S.M. 1959), who worked at Lincoln Laboratory for more than three decades and helped develop a way to detect asteroids that might pose a threat to Earth, died in his home on Jan. 2. He was 81.

Weber grew up in both Brooklyn and New Jersey. Under his father's influence, he became a teen expert in radio communications when he enlisted in the Army in 1944. He was assigned to Japan and honorably discharged in March 1945. He served as a technical advisor in Korea for the U.S War Department while working for RCA from 1945 to 1949.

After receiving a master's degree in physics from MIT, Weber worked for Lincoln Laboratory for 34 years starting in 1962. During his career, he co-developed the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) project, which detects and tracks asteroids near Earth. As a result of his research, Weber and his team discovered seven asteroids in the mid-1990s. Weber also led the team that developed the U.S. Air Force's deep space satellite tracking network.

Weber met his late wife, Chung-Hi (Helen) Koh, in Korea. They raised seven children together: Robert G. Weber, Lesley Gustafson and Teresa Weber of Northboro, Mass., William Weber of Columbus, Ohio, Linda Weber of New Hartford, N.Y., Anthony Weber, predeceased, and Carl Weber of Biddeford, Maine. Memorial donations may be made to the Gladden Community House, 183 Hawkes Ave., Columbus, Ohio.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 30, 2008 (download PDF).

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