Milestones May 14, 2007

In the world of astronomy, the venerated Polish-born theoretical astrophysicist Bohdan Paczynski was a renegade, forever proposing ideas dubbed outlandish by colleagues. Yet Paczynski changed the way we look at the sky. In the 1980s he refined a technique called microlensing, allowing scientists a more textured view of the galaxy. In the '90s he and a team of Polish researchers established a sweeping--and ongoing--project to capture all celestial activity and record rare events like killer asteroids. He was 67 and had brain cancer.

The horror heroes idolized by Bobby Pickett as a boy made him one of the country's best-known one-hit wonders. At...

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