YOUNGSTOWN — Warren Younger passionately recalled when he and Ted Pedas had witnessed a complete photo voltaic eclipse almost 50 years in the past. At no time since then had something gotten in the best way of their longtime friendship.
“He was a man who took his job very critically,” stated Younger, a retired Youngstown State College professor who was the college’s authentic Ward Beecher Planetarium director from 1967 to 2004.
Seeing the uncommon celestial occasion with Pedas in July 1972 aboard a cruise ship off the coast of Africa is one in all many fond reminiscences Younger has of his relationship with Pedas, an astronomy educator, philanthropist and entrepreneur who died March 11 of sudden cardiac arrest at his winter residence in Sanibel Island, Fla. He was 82.
Younger, who additionally served as chairman of YSU’s physics division, remembered having met on the ship Neil Armstrong, who was the primary individual to stroll on the moon, together with a number of well-known science writers.
“One of many issues (Pedas) had me do was introduce Neil Armstrong. I talked to him concerning the moon, and it was like speaking to Columbus after he found the New World,” Younger stated, including that Pedas liked conducting astronomy-related lectures aboard cruise ships.
Pedas, whom Younger employed on the planetarium within the late Nineteen Sixties after Pedas had earned a level from Michigan State College, additionally had a present for fascinating folks in astronomy largely by assembly them at their age ranges. For instance, he had younger kids be taught the fundamentals about meteorites whereas permitting them to the touch the bits of house materials, Younger stated, including Pedas ran astronomy exhibits for folks of all ages, in addition to faculty teams, a number of instances weekly.
In 1993, after a number of a long time on the Ward Beecher Planetarium, he was designated planetarium administrator emeritus. Pedas additionally was one of many Worldwide Planetarium Society’s founding members in 1968.
The IPS is a world affiliation of astronomers and different planetarium professionals. Its almost 500 members from 50 nations signify colleges, museums, universities and public amenities, together with planetariums, the group’s web site states.
Pedas earned levels in planetarium science and science schooling from YSU, Michigan State and the College of California at Berkeley.
His entrepreneurship was evident in some ways, together with donating cash to, and conducting exhibits at, Farrell Excessive College’s planetarium, which was renamed the Ted Pedas Planetarium largely due to his benevolence and donations to the Farrell Space College District. He additionally gave cash for awards college students had been to obtain, Younger continued.
SPACE AGE INTEREST
“Ted’s schooling and subsequent pursuits initially started with the beginning of the Area Age within the mid-Fifties,” Kaoru Kimura, who lives in Tokyo and is president of the Worldwide Planetarium Society, stated in an announcement. “He mixed a expertise for enterprise with a ardour for instructing, significantly astronomy and house science in his hometown of Farrell, Pennsylvania.”
Anthony F. “Tony” Aveni, an astronomy and anthropology professor at Russell Colgate College in Hamilton, N.Y., recalled that about 50 years in the past, Pedas known as to ask him to conduct lectures about astronomy on a cruise ship. That led to Aveni and his spouse, Lorraine, spending winters in that pursuit till the pandemic started final 12 months, he remembered.
“Anybody who lives inside a light-weight 12 months of Youngstown is effectively conscious of Ted’s generosity,” stated Aveni, who’s additionally a lecturer in addition to editor and writer of greater than 20 books on historic astronomy.
As well as, Aveni helped develop the sector of archeoastronomy, the examine of how historic folks got here to grasp astronomical occasions, in addition to how they used and interpreted such phenomena of their cultures.
Pedas’ nice data and stellar love for his topic reverberated not solely within the classroom or aboard massive cruise ships, however to newspaper readers and a big phase of the general public, stated Sharon Shanks, who met Pedas in 1990 earlier than succeeding him as a Ward Beecher Planetarium lecturer till she retired in 2015.
“Not solely did I observe him as a lecturer, but additionally as writer of The Cosmos for The Vindicator from 1996 to 2002,” Shanks remembered. “He educated lots of of hundreds of individuals about astronomy and promoted the planetarium by means of that weekly column, which he wrote out by hand on yellow authorized pads. He realized there was a thirst for data about house and astronomy amongst folks, and that many loved studying no matter their age.”
Shanks, who retired final December after having labored 14 years as editor of “Planetarian,” the Worldwide Planetarium Society’s journal, added that she loved helping Pedas together with his cruise endeavors. As well as, Shanks lectured on two such journeys and for a number of years, taught as soon as per week on the Farrell Excessive College Planetarium for Pedas.
The 146-seat planetarium at YSU, which opened in 1967, is the primary within the U.S. that’s additionally arrange as a classroom. It has undergone 4 main renovations, together with one in 2017 to improve its video system, Curtis Spivey, planetarium engineer, famous.
In 2019, an estimated 20,000 folks attended quite a lot of exhibits earlier than the pandemic started final March and it needed to near the general public, Spivey stated, including he hopes the power will be capable to totally reopen by fall. Now it’s being utilized in a restricted capability for college students taking a primary astronomy class, he continued.
For extra details about the Ward Beecher Planetarium, go to www.wbplanetarium.org., or go to its Fb web page.
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