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  • One of the giants of planetary science, H. J. Melosh, died unexpectedly on 11 September 2020 at age 73. Through his students, postdocs and collaborators, he brought a high level of physical rigour to the growing field of planetary geology.

    • William B. McKinnon
    • Erik Asphaug
  • Govind Swarup was a pioneer in the field of radio astronomy and the driving force behind two innovative Indian radio telescopes. He contributed significantly to building up research institutions and promoting science education and training programs in the country.

    • Jayaram N. Chengalur
    • Yashwant Gupta
  • On 3 May 2020 the Greek and extended international astronomy community lost Professor Emeritus John Hugh Seiradakis, a highly impactful, wide-reaching researcher and educator, and mentor to generations of students.

    • Vassiliki Kalogera
    • Michael Kramer
  • The space and planetary science community lost a great leader, Professor Weixing Wan, on 20 May 2020, aged 62. He was a world-leading space scientist and a pioneer in China’s planetary science programme.

    • Yong Wei
  • Exoplanetary and Solar System science lost a major figure with the sudden passing of Professor Adam Showman on 16 March 2020 at the age of 51. He was recognized as the world’s leading authority in the field of atmospheric dynamics of exoplanets.

    • Jonathan J. Fortney
  • A pioneer of millimetre-wave astronomy, Norio Kaifu was an incomparable leader, person of spirit, colleague and friend.

    • Masahiko Hayashi
  • Innovative and versatile, William Klemperer devised both unorthodox experimental tools that enhanced molecular spectroscopy and a theoretical model that elucidated the paradoxical chemistry of cold interstellar clouds.

    • Dudley Herschbach
  • Internationally respected astronomer and renowned comet physics expert Michael Francis A’Hearn (1940–2017) passed away on 29 May 2017 at the age of 76.

    • Michael J. S. Belton
  • Giovanni Fabrizio Bignami, ‘Nanni’ to his friends, suddenly passed away on 25 May 2017. A pioneer in the field of gamma-ray astrophysics, he identified Geminga: a mysterious, radio quiet, gamma-ray pulsar. He was an undisputed leader, manager, maestro, colleague and friend.

    • Pietro Ubertini
  • Charles Malcolm Walmsley passed away on 1 May 2017. He made numerous fundamental contributions to the physics and chemistry of star formation and the interstellar medium. He was an exceptional scientist, a highly esteemed colleague and a true gentleman.

    • Karl Menten
    • Riccardo Cesaroni
  • A pioneer in the field of astrochemistry, Patrick Thaddeus discovered dozens of exotic molecules in space and helped revolutionize our view of the interstellar medium and star formation.

    • Thomas Dame
  • Neil Gehrels passed away on 6 February 2017. A pioneer of observational high-energy astrophysics, he was an exceptional leader, scholar, colleague and friend.

    • Fiona Harrison