Sunday, November 28News That Matters

Tag: Deaths (Obituaries)

Laszlo Z. Bito, Scientist, Novelist and Philanthropist, Dies at 87

Laszlo Z. Bito, Scientist, Novelist and Philanthropist, Dies at 87

Technology
He won a full scholarship to Bard, graduated in 1960 and went on to receive a doctorate in cell biology and biophysics at Columbia, where he eventually became a professor of ocular physiology. He married a fellow Bard student, Perry Mote; they divorced in 1973, and Ms. Bito died in 2016. He is survived by their two sons, John and Lawrence, who is known as Buck.Dr. Bito was interested in a family of chemicals produced by the body, prostaglandins, and how they might affect the eye. Conventional scientific wisdom held that prostaglandins raised intraocular pressure, which could lead to blindness. Dr. Bito had a contradictory theory — that prostaglandins, given in small enough doses, could actually lower the pressure.With financial support from the government, Dr. Bito studied prostaglandins i...

Wakefield Poole, Pioneer in Gay Pornography, Dies at 85

LifeStyle
One New York night in the early 1970s, a dancer and budding filmmaker named Wakefield Poole went to see a gay porn flick called “Highway Hustler” at a run-down theater in Times Square with his friends. As he settled into a tattered seat, he prepared to spend the next 45 minutes or so enjoyably aroused.But as the film rolled, he experienced nothing of the kind. He thought that the movie was sleazy, that its sex scenes were unnecessarily degrading. He started laughing out loud, and one of his companions fell asleep.“I said to my friend, ‘This is the worst, ugliest movie I’ve ever seen!’” Mr. Poole, who died on Oct. 27 at 85, recalled in 2002. “Somebody ought to be able to do something better.”The Stonewall uprising in Greenwich Village had occurred two years earlier, and Mr. Poole, like coun...
Stephen Sondheim, Titan of the American Musical, Is Dead at 91

Stephen Sondheim, Titan of the American Musical, Is Dead at 91

LifeStyle
An afternoon-long tutorial followed, teaching him, by Mr. Sondheim’s account, more about the craft than most songwriters learn in a lifetime. Hammerstein laid out a path of writing exercises for him: Adapt a good play into a musical; adapt a flawed play into a musical; adapt a story from another medium into a musical; and, finally, write a musical from your own original story. This the young Mr. Sondheim did, a project that carried him through his graduation from Williams College in Massachusetts, where he complemented his theater work with serious composition study under Robert Barrow, an intellectually rigorous specialist in harmony, from whom Mr. Sondheim gleaned the lesson, as he put it, “that art is work and not inspiration, that invention comes with craft.” Mr. Sondheim would later s...
Jay Last, One of the Rebels Who Founded Silicon Valley, Dies at 92

Jay Last, One of the Rebels Who Founded Silicon Valley, Dies at 92

Technology
Jay Last, a physicist who helped create the silicon chips that power the world’s computers, and who was among the eight entrepreneurs whose company laid the technical, financial and cultural foundation for Silicon Valley, died on Nov. 11 in Los Angeles. He was 92.His death, in a hospital, was confirmed by his wife and only immediate survivor, Debbie.Dr. Last was finishing a Ph.D. in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1956 when he was approached by William Shockley, who would share a Nobel Prize that same year for the invention of the transistor, the tiny electrical device that became the essential building block for the world’s computer chips. Dr. Shockley invited him to join a new effort to commercialize a silicon transistor at a lab near Palo Alto, Calif., about 30 m...
Clarissa Eden, British Countess and Political Influencer, Dies at 101

Clarissa Eden, British Countess and Political Influencer, Dies at 101

LifeStyle
By the time her husband became prime minister, in 1955, a year before the Suez crisis that came to define his premiership, Britain was entering a different era, though the ruling class still moved in glittery circles. “You were perpetually in evening gowns, tremendous evening clothes — tiaras and God knows what, and long gloves that had to be buttoned up,” Ms. Eden was quoted as saying in “The Goldfish Bowl.” At the same time, the blue-collar deference that had sustained the country’s rigid class system had begun to weaken. Ms. Eden drew adverse press coverage when she asked Maud Butt, the wife of a farmworker, to refrain from hanging out her laundry to dry across a path at Chequers, the prime ministerial country retreat in Buckinghamshire.“When we had foreign visitors, we used to take the...

Alan Paller, a Mover on Cybersecurity Threat, Is Dead at 76

Technology
Mr. Paller’s pet project was the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation, which hosts hacking challenges for high school and college students. The idea was based in part on the example of China, which runs regular hacking competitions to identify its next generation of digital warriors.“We have no program like that in the United States — nothing,” Mr. Paller told The Times in 2013. “No one is even teaching this in schools. If we don’t solve this problem, we’re in trouble.”His program offers college scholarship funds and free SANS trainings, with the goal of finding and developing 25,000 new “cyberstars” by 2025. Last year, Mr. Paller and Mr. Lyne rolled out a new game, CyberStart, which challenges students to track down cybercriminals, in exchange for $2 million in scholarship funds.“People ...
William Conway, Who Reimagined America’s Zoos, Is Dead at 91

William Conway, Who Reimagined America’s Zoos, Is Dead at 91

Travel
William G. Conway, an animal conservationist who redefined (but failed to rename) the Bronx Zoo, and who helped recast America’s urban wildlife parks into crowd-pleasing natural habitats designed to generate support for endangered species worldwide, died on Oct. 21 in New Rochelle, N.Y. He was 91.His death, in a hospital, was announced by the Wildlife Conservation Society, where he had spent virtually his entire career. He joined the society in 1956 as an assistant bird curator and retired in 1999 as president and general director.Dr. Conway single-mindedly transformed the society’s signature attraction in the Bronx from a famous but fusty cloister for neurotic caged specimens into a collection of lush natural environments where the animals presumably felt more at home, and where visitors ...
Ivy Nicholson, Model and Warhol Factory Star, Dies at 88

Ivy Nicholson, Model and Warhol Factory Star, Dies at 88

LifeStyle
Ivy Nicholson was a working-class girl from New York City who lit up the 1950s as one of Europe’s top fashion models, married a French count, posed topless for Salvador Dali and became one of the first “superstars” in Andy Warhol’s Factory. It was a flashbulb life built on bravado and sheer magnetism.But it was not a solid life, and when the 1960s ended and the big checks stopped coming, she was left on her own. She spent her last decades in or near poverty, sometimes homeless, telling anyone who would listen that she was on her way back up.Ms. Nicholson died on Oct. 25 at an assisted living facility in Bellflower, Calif., outside Los Angeles. She was 88. Her son Sean Bolger confirmed her death, saying that she had recently been weakened by seizures.To her last days, Ms. Nicholson kept her...
Pamela McCorduck, Historian of Artificial Intelligence, Dies at 80

Pamela McCorduck, Historian of Artificial Intelligence, Dies at 80

Technology
Ms. McCorduck’s “powers of observation” and “conversational style” raised her book above others that have in the years since tried to explain artificial intelligence to a broad audience, Philip Mirowski wrote in AI Magazine in a review of the 25th-anniversary edition of “Machines Who Think,” which included a long addendum updating A.I.’s history through 2004.Ms. McCorduck's “Machines Who Think,” published in 1979, chronicled the early history of artificial intelligence.Pamela Ann McCorduck was born on Oct. 27, 1940, in Liverpool, England, as the city was being bombed by the German Luftwaffe. When she was 6 she left for the United States with her parents, Jack and Hilda (Bond) McCorduck, and her two younger siblings, who are twins.Her father owned beauty colleges, where her mother was a bea...
Louise Slade, Scientist Who Studied the Molecules in Food, Dies at 74

Louise Slade, Scientist Who Studied the Molecules in Food, Dies at 74

Technology
“A lot of what Louise established was how to make products consistent and stable without putting in a lot of additives consumers don’t want,” Todd Abraham, who worked with Dr. Slade at Kraft, said in an interview.Dr. Slade provided not just a framework for answering those challenges but also a voluminous amount of research: She and Dr. Levine, who worked together for much of their professional careers, published some 260 papers and received 47 patents. She once estimated that the patents she received for her corporate employers were worth over $1 billion.Louise Slade was born on Oct. 26, 1946, in Florence, S.C. Her father, Charles, ran a lumber-treatment factory, and her mother, Loraine (Browning) Slade, was a homemaker.Dr. Levine is her only immediate survivor.Louise showed early promise ...