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LA Dave

Do you know this man?

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He was one of the first people to intuit (long before the lunar landings) that the craters on the moon were created by asteroids, not volcanic action. During World War II, he was one of the principal inventors of the proximity fuse. After the war, he published two groundbreaking volumes on lunar geology and is considered one of the major thinkers in the field. He is the recipient of the Leonard Medal and the Barringer Medal, awarded by the Meteoritical Society, one of only two individuals to win both medals in their lifetime. An observatory has been named in his honor.

This man was not, however, a professional scientist, and spent most of his career at the family business, a machinery company.

Who is he? And why should Grand Rapidians care?

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He was one of the first people to intuit (long before the lunar landings) that the craters on the moon were created by asteroids, not volcanic action. During World War II, he was one of the principal inventors of the proximity fuse. After the war, he published two groundbreaking volumes on lunar geology and is considered one of the major thinkers in the field. He is the recipient of the Leonard Medal and the Barringer Medal, awarded by the Meteoritical Society, one of only two individuals to win both medals in their lifetime. An observatory has been named in his honor.

This man was not, however, a professional scientist, and spent most of his career at the family business, a machinery company.

Who is he? And why should Grand Rapidians care?

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He was one of the first people to intuit (long before the lunar landings) that the craters on the moon were created by asteroids, not volcanic action. During World War II, he was one of the principal inventors of the proximity fuse. After the war, he published two groundbreaking volumes on lunar geology and is considered one of the major thinkers in the field. He is the recipient of the Leonard Medal and the Barringer Medal, awarded by the Meteoritical Society, one of only two individuals to win both medals in their lifetime. An observatory has been named in his honor.

This man was not, however, a professional scientist, and spent most of his career at the family business, a machinery company.

Who is he? And why should Grand Rapidians care?

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Bravo!

I was asking because I had never heard of this guy until I read something about him in the U-M LSA alumni magazine. A true giant who labored in obscurity. In addition to the Baldwin observatory at Aquinas, he has also endowed a professorship of astronomy at Michigan, the first endowed chair in that department.

Baldwin is a Grand Rapids native and a descendant of Capt. Charles Belknap, a Civil War hero with the 21st Michigan Volunteer Infantry and a notable 19th century Grand Rapids politician. He graduated from Central High and received his A.B., M.S. and Ph.D degrees from the University of Michigan.

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Bravo!

I was asking because I had never heard of this guy until I read something about him in the U-M LSA alumni magazine. A true giant who labored in obscurity. In addition to the Baldwin observatory at Aquinas, he has also endowed a professorship of astronomy at Michigan, the first endowed chair in that department.

Baldwin is a Grand Rapids native and a descendant of Capt. Charles Belknap, a Civil War hero with the 21st Michigan Volunteer Infantry and a notable 19th century Grand Rapids politician. He graduated from Central High and received his A.B., M.S. and Ph.D degrees from the University of Michigan.

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Good luck on finding's Belknap's grave.

Charles Belknap is another fascinating Grand Rapidian. He enlisted in the 21st Michigan at the age of 15 (not legally, mind you, as recruits had to be over 16 -- some youngsters would stand on a slip of paper marked with the number 16 to ease their conscience). He was brevetted a 1st lieutenant for heroism at the battle of Chickamagua at the age of 17 and ended the war as a captain (which he also made at the age of 17).

He served two terms in Congress between 1889 and 1893, and was the founder of a buggy and sleigh company.

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I saw a documentary on PBS about the proximity fuse last night. They credited it with winning WWII.

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