Other Notable Deaths


August 26, 2007

RALPH ALPHER, 86 Physicist

Ralph Alpher, a physicist who did pioneering work on the underpinnings of the Big Bang theory, died Aug. 12 in Austin, Texas.

Dr. Alpher had been honored by President Bush with a National Medal of Science in July but couldn't attend the ceremony because of his poor health, Union College in Schenectady said in announcing his death. He had been a member of the school's faculty.

The Big Bang theory holds that the universe began in the explosion of a single, super-dense point that contained all matter.

As a doctoral candidate at George Washington University, Dr. Alpher and Johns Hopkins University physicist Robert Herman theorized in 1948 that the expansion of the universe leaves behind radiation, and that traces of the initial explosion could still be found.

That was confirmed in 1964 by the observations of Bell Laboratories astronomers.

RAYMOND BARRE, 83 Former prime minister of France

Raymond Barre, a tough-speaking former French prime minister and economist who refused to bow to protesters or political alliances, died at a Paris hospital where he was being treated for heart problems, family members said yesterday.

He was prime minister of France from 1976 to 81 during a 30-year political career that also included posts as vice president of the European Commission, French economics minister and mayor of Lyon. He made a run for president in 1988.

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