Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nate Whipple

A letter to the editor in a recent issue of The Valley Breeze suggested that sidewalks be added along the entire length of Rhode Island's Nate Whipple Highway.

The letter reminded me of my own visit to the Nate Whipple Highway in 1999. Here's the photo I took in July 1999:

We saw several other locations named after Nate. Here is what the Nate Whipple Medical Center (on Nate Whipple Highway, of course) looked like that same day:

We also visited Whipple Station--part of the North Cumberland (R.I.) Fire Department:

Nate Whipple served as fire chief from 1925 to 1963. You can see Nate's ancestry in the Whipple Genweb.

What do you know about Nate Whipple? Was his middle name William or Winthrop?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fred Whipple Dreamed of Space Travel

Childhood polio ended Fred's dream of playing tennis, according to the Web site, but a high school astronomy course ignited an even more passionate interest.

"My interest in space travel began in my teens," Dr. Fred Whipple wrote in the preface to "The Collected Contributions of Fred L. Whipple, Vol. II" (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory/1972).

Born Nov. 5, 1906, in Iowa, said the boy could "add up customer's (sic) purchases in his head" at the grocery store where he worked. Over his 97 years, Whipple discovered five comets and an asteroid named Whipple, his International Space Hall of Fame biography stated. He was one of the first to discern that stars other than our sun emit radio waves.

So begins an article entitled "Space History: Whipple dreamed of space travel," published November 1 in the Alamogordo (New Mexico) Daily News. (Click here to read the entire article.)

Fred is in the Whipple Genweb at

(Special thanks to Blaine Whipple for submitting this article.)