Walter M. Elsasser dies;was Hopkins professor
Walter M. Elsasser, an emeritus professor of earth and planetary sciences at the Johns Hopkins University and a winner of the National Science Medal -- presented to him by President Reagan in 1987 -- died of kidney failure Monday at Roland Park Place. He was 87.
Dr. Elsasser joined the Hopkins faculty as an adjunct professor in 1974 and shortly afterward was named Homewood professor of earth and planetary sciences. He retired in 1985.
Author of a series of papers on the origins of the Earth's magnetic field, he and colleagues at Hopkins also developed a new theory -- whole mantle convection -- to explain the forces involved in continental drift, earthquakes and volcanoes. He earned his doctorate in physics in 1927 at the University of Goettingen in Germany and was one of the first students to earn his degree in the new field of quantum mechanics. Until the late 1930s, his research papers dealt with atomic and nuclear physics. He then changed to studies of geophysics. He also wrote extensively on theoretical biology.
In addition, Dr. Elsasser, who knew many of the famous figures of modern physics, wrote an autobiographical book, "Memoirs of a Physicist in the Atomic Age," which was published in 1978.
Born in Mannheim, Germany, he also studied at the Heidelberg and Munich universities and did postdoctoral work in the Netherlands and Switzerland.
In 1936, he came to the United States and subsequently held teaching and research posts at the California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in California and Princeton University. In 1967, he joined the University of Maryland as a research professor and worked there until moving on to Hopkins.
A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society and the American Geophysical Union, also was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Sigma Xi, the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation and the American Institute of Physics.
In additional to the National Science Medal presented for his body of work, his awards included the Arthur L. Day Medal of the Geological Society of America, the C. F. Gauss Medal of the scientific society of Braunschweig, Germany, the John A. Fleming Medal of the American Geophysical Union and a research prize of the German Physical Society.
Survivors include a son, William Stephen Elsasser of Rohnert Park, Calif.; a daughter, Barbara Elsasser of Portland, Ore.; and a sister, Maria Lindberg of Laguna Hills, Calif.
A memorial service will be held at noon Oct. 29 in the auditorium of Olin Hall on the Homewood campus.
A memorial service for William H. Gordon, a retired restaurant owner, will be held at 7 p.m. today at the Metropolitan United Methodist Church, 1121 W. Lanvale St.
Mr. Gordon, who was 60 and lived on Darius Court in Woodlawn, died of cancer Oct. 10 at Union Memorial Hospital.
He retired more than two years ago after owning the G&G Restaurant, a neighborhood restaurant and tavern in West Baltimore, for 12 years. For about five years before that, he owned Flair Men's Wear.
Earlier, he had worked as an accountant for several organizations, including the King and Reynolds accounting firm, the Baltimore City Urban Services Agency and the Advance Savings and Loan Association.
A native of Lumberton, N.C., who was reared there and in Baltimore, he completed his high school education while he was a communications specialist in the U.S. Air Force in the late 1940s and during the Korean War.
Later, he worked as a civilian employee of the Air Force while earning a business and accounting degree from Morgan State University, from which he graduated in 1958. He also did graduate work at the Johns Hopkins University.
Mr. Gordon was a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and a social club, the Sophisticated Few.
He is survived by his wife, the former Ellen Christmas; two daughters, Lynnette Gordon of Baltimore and Donna Gordon-Jones of Pikesville; seven sisters, Margaret Gordon and Hester Howell, both of Newark, N.J., Mary Barnes of Virginia and Edith Gordon, Catherine Griffin, Delores Hobbs and Lenora Knox, all of Baltimore; four brothers, Kemper Lewis, Joseph Gordon, Rudolph Gordon and Andrew Gordon, all of Baltimore; and three grandchildren.
Gail D. Linton
Secretary at The Sun
A memorial service for Gail Denise Linton, a witty, outgoing secretary in The Baltimore Sun's advertising department, will be held at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at St. Luke's Evangelical Lutheran Church, West 36th Street and Chestnut Avenue.
Ms. Linton died Tuesday at Union Memorial Hospital from complications associated with Hodgkin's disease. She was 37.
Ms. Linton, who was well-known in Fells Point, where she worked 10 years, had been in the hospital since Aug. 1. She died on her birthday.