In Memoriam: Alison Doane
Monday, November 6, 2017
News Feature

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) lost a member of its family with the passing of Alison Doane on October 29, 2017.

Alison was a key figure at the CfA. She joined the Harvard College Observatory in July 1983 as an Assistant to Martha Hazen, then the Curator of the Harvard Astronomical Plate collection. Upon Martha's passing in 2001, Alison became Curator in January 2002, assuming responsibility for visiting astronomers who wished to examine individual plates.

Alison played a key role in the 2004 proposal to NSF for the plate digitization project (DASCH). As the project developed in its early years, she provided the important links to the Harvard Weissman Preservation Center for their advice on how to clean and handle the huge number of plates to be scanned. This relationship was vital when some 61,000 plates were submerged in the Observatory flood of January 17, 2016. Alison was the one who called the Weissman staff who rushed over and began the recovery effort (expected to be finished in April 2018).

Alison worked closely with author Dava Sobel, who spent many days in the Stacks and the Harvard Archives researching for her wonderful book, "The Glass Universe."

Alison was an enthusiastic and gracious tour guide for the many visitors wishing to see the plate collection and learn about the women computers. She was recognized for her many contributions by Dean Michael Smith with a "Dean's Distinction Award" in 2014.

Alison was a renowned musician, a master of the Oboe. She played in several orchestras and for many musical organizations. She was enthusiastic about music, the Observatory, and the outdoors (she was an avid walker). She leaves her husband, Richard Teague, and their two sons (Alexei and Viktor).