Other notable deaths


August 11, 2006

James A. Van Allen, 91, the physicist who made the first major scientific discovery of the early space age - the Earth-circling radiation belts that bear his name - and sent spacecraft instruments to observe the outer reaches of the solar system, died of heart failure Wednesday in Iowa City, Iowa.

He was a longtime professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa and, with the discovery of the Van Allen belts of intense radiation surrounding Earth, he became a leading figure in the new field of magnetospheric physics, which grew in importance as spacecraft began exploring the planets.

A legendary lecturer and an inspiration to several generations of budding physicists and astronomers, Dr. Van Allen continued to show up at his office-laboratory until about a month before he died.

He gained global attention in the late 1950s when instruments he designed and placed aboard the first U.S. satellite, Explorer I, discovered the bands of intense radiation that surround the Earth. The discovery propelled the United States in its space exploration race with the Soviet Union and prompted Time magazine to put him on the cover of its May 4, 1959, issue.

Melissa Hayden, 83, a lyrical, exquisite dancer who was one of New York City Ballet's first international stars, died of pancreatic cancer Wednesday at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Ms. Hayden, who was born Mildred Herman in Toronto and was known to her friends as Milly, started her career in Boris Volkoff's Canadian Ballet. After a brief stint at Radio City Music Hall, she joined Ballet Theatre, soon becoming a soloist in 1945.

She spent the majority of her career with the New York City Ballet, where she was a soloist from 1953 to 1954 and a principal dancer from 1955 to 1973. Ballet master George Balanchine, who started the company, helped her develop her vulnerable yet strong style with roles in Agon, The Figure in the Carpet and La Source.

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