Lars E.B. Johansson

In memoriam

A highly valued member of staff at Onsala Space Observatory, Dr. Lars E.B. Johansson passed away on Saturday March 15, 2008 (he was born in 1945). Lars had a long history at the observatory, where he started as a graduate student in the early 70's. In particular, he was station manager of the Swedish-ESO Submillimetre Telescope (SEST; located on Cerro La Silla in Chile) during the commissioning years as well as thefirst years of regular scientific operation. The successful operation of SEST, in which  Lars was instrumental, paved the way for Onsala Space Observatory's participation in the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment Project (APEX, a sub-mm telescope located on Llano Chajnantor in northern Chile). After the SEST period, he became responsible for the operation of the Onsala 20m telescope. A large number of astronomers have benefitted from Lars' competent help in the control rooms at SEST and in Onsala. Lars was a very experienced radioastronomer with the competence to also manage a radio observatory. In this capacity he will be very difficult to replace.
 
Among his scientific achievements the early work on the so called OH/IR objects should be mentioned, which eventually lead to their identification as highly evolved red giants with intense mass loss. Following this, he worked on the physics and chemistry of the interstellar medium, i.e. through the first ever unbiased spectral scan, of the carbon star IRC+10216 and observations of the starforming region Orion-KL, both of which  were studied using the Onsala 20m telescope. He also conducted a number of projects on the Magellanic Clouds using SEST. Lars was a meticulous scientist, in his observations as well as in his analysis. He did not like to speculate wildly, and he never published questionable data.
 
A very respected and experienced member of staff has left us. Primarily missed by his wife, Silvana, and his family, but also by his friends and colleagues at Onsala Space Observatory and elsewhere in the world. It is a great loss to us all.

Lars E.B. Johansson

Published: Fri 23 Aug 2013. Modified: Thu 16 Oct 2014