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NASSAU, JASON J.

NASSAU, JASON J. (29 Mar. 1893-11 May 1965), astronomer and skillful popularizer, was born in Smyrna, Turkey, to Greek parents, John and Maria Christie Nassau. He earned a Ph.D. from Syracuse University, and did graduate study at Columbia, Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities. In 1921 he became associate professor of mathematics and astronomy at Case Institute of Technology; in 1928, he became director of the Warner & Swasey Observatory on the Case campus, holding that position until he retired as chairman of the Astronomy Dept. and director of the observatory in 1959, when he became professor emeritus.

Nassau installed a 35 in. Schmidt-type telescope in Warner & Swasey Observatory. Interested in public education, Nassau made "public nights" a monthly feature at the observatory. When the smog and lights of Cleveland made it necessary to move the telescope to Chardon, the new observatory was named the Nassau Astronomical Station in his honor. Nassau's research on the structure of the Milky Way brought him international acclaim. He developed a technique to study the distribution of red stars that was adopted all over the world, and in 1957 discovered a new cluster of 9,000 stars in the galaxy. With Chas. Stephenson, he also discovered 2 novae in 1961.

Nassau spoke at international conferences and was equally effective with area high school audiences. Nassau published more than 80 papers, was president of the Cleveland Astronomical Society and a fellow of the American and Royal astronomical societies. Nassau married Laura Johnson in 1920 and had 2 sons, Sherwood and James.