Louis Frank

Louis A. Frank

1938 - 2014

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Obituary of Louis A. Frank

Dr. Louis A. Frank, Professor Emeritus of Physics & Astronomy from the University of Iowa died Friday, May 16, 2014. Memorial services will be held 10 a.m., Tuesday, May 20th at the Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service in Iowa City with visitation from 4-7 p.m., Monday at the funeral home. Private family interment will take place at Oakland Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Van Allen Physics Scholarship Fund at the University of Iowa Foundation. Louis was born in Chicago, IL and graduated from high school in Fort Madison, Iowa. He enjoyed nurturing trees and wildlife as well as automobiles. His passion in life was science. Dr. Frank was a Professor of Physics at The University of Iowa, where he had been a member of the faculty since 1964. His first professional research activities occurred in 1958 when he assisted Professor Van Allen in the calibration of the first U. S. lunar probes, Pioneers 3 and 4, as an undergraduate student. Since then he had been an experimenter, co-investigator, or principal investigator for instruments on forty-two spacecraft. Dr. Frank was the principal investigator for the auroral imaging instruments for the Dynamics Explorer Mission, the plasma instrumentation for the Galileo Mission to Jupiter, the U. S. plasma instrumentation for the Japanese Geotail spacecraft, and the camera for visible wavelengths for the Polar spacecraft of the International Solar Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) Program. His publications encompassed such topics as the first direct measurements of the terrestrial ring current and of the polar cusp, the current systems in Earth's magnetotail, the plasma tori at Jupiter and at Saturn, and global imaging of Earth's auroral zones and atmosphere. His research interests were directed toward magnetospheric plasmas in the vicinity of Earth, wave-plasma instabilities, active experiments in the ionosphere, interpretation of auroral images in terms of global convection and current systems, the Jovian magnetosphere and its relationship with the Galilean satellites, computed tomography, geocoronal hydrogen, comets, and optics. He served on various NASA and NAS/NRC committees and as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a member of the American Astronomical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Academy of Astronautics. He was a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and a recipient of the National Space Act Award. His family includes his two daughters, Jessica Frank of Iowa City and Suzanne Frank of Waterloo; brother, Clyde Frank of Virginia; sister, Emilou Woods of Colorado, and grandson Taylor Bergstrom of New York.