Paradoxes Resolved, Origins Illuminated - Condolence Messages
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Larry Burford

2268 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2009 :  09:19:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The original thread about Tom's situation was focused mainly on collecting suggestions and information about possible ways to avoid a worse case outcome. Of course many of you also sent messages of condolence.

Stoat has suggested that a new thread, focused on condolences, is appropriate and I agree. If you have already posted such a message in the other thread please feel free to repeat it here or to post another.

Due to limitations in the forum software it is not possible to move messages around or to make an exception regarding the need to be registered to post. If anyone would like to send a message of condolence but does not want to register please send me an email and I will forward it to Tom's family. I will also post it to this thread unless you ask me to keep it private.

Thank you,


44 Posts

Posted - 12 Jan 2009 :  12:36:43  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My condolences and sympathy to Tom's family and friends.

He touched many lives and will be missed.

I read "Dark Matter" in the 1990's, and now my children naturally think of gravity as pushing on us - because of Tom!

I know his legacy will continue for a long time, and hope it finds increasing acceptance and vindication!

With sorrow for our loss,

At this moment of reflection, a few quotes from Baha'u'llah that are relevant to Tom's Meta Model of the universe...
- The one true God hath everlastingly existed, and will everlastingly continue to exist. His creation, likewise, hath had no beginning, and will have no end.
- Know thou of a truth that the worlds of God are countless in their number, and infinite in their range.
- The learned men, that have fixed at several thousand years the life of this earth, have failed, throughout the long period of their observation, to consider either the number or the age of the other planets.... Know thou that every fixed star hath its own planets, and every planet its own creatures, whose number no man can compute.
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United Kingdom
1088 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2009 :  05:45:09  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm so sorry to hear about the death of Tom, my thoughts go out to his family. He put up a brave fight; in everything he did; and he'll be sorely missed.
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74 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2009 :  12:21:52  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was looking for some news about his Meta Model today in the internet and found that he had passed away. I feel very sad.

I have never met him personally, but I could hold my tears.

This man simply changed my life. I used to be a guy who followed the mainstream, basically because I thought the mainstream "could not be wrong" and so I kept trying to find logical ways to justify my beliefs. With his words spread in many places in the internet, he was telling me: "Hey, you don't need to believe them. You have other more logical explanations to same phenomena".

I sincerally hope someone will continue to work on his theories.

My condolences to all his family.

Some day in the future, he will be recognized as a genius of our time.
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194 Posts

Posted - 13 Jan 2009 :  16:52:31  Show Profile  Visit PheoniX_VII's Homepage  Reply with Quote
This is tragic news indeed, Tom was indeed a great man. standing up against the bigger part of the cosmology community proved that. The Ideas he had and tried to pass on to us trough his books and this site will not be forgotten I'm sure of it, they may have lost their front line champion but I assure you they will not be forgotten. The universe Tom lived in was a simple, understandable one based on a few rules alone and that made it beautiful.
Even if Toms theories never become anything more then meta-science, they did menage to make me more open to the science overall, to interpret data on my own and draw my on conclusions, not base them solely on someone else's words.

I feel a bit egoistic but I really hate that I never got to meet this man, I was actually thinking about inviting him to my future Master of Science disputation, even though I doubt he would come all the way to Sweden just for that.

Tom won't be forgotten, and I feel deeply for all of you who were left behind as he passed on.

/Fredrik Persson
Second year Physics student
Lund, Sweden.
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126 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2009 :  02:38:03  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I first met Tom about 50 years ago. I was working in GEs computer
center in Cincinnati. He was there as part of a work experience program GE had for students. He had written a Fortran program to enable members of the Moonwatch program to track satellites. I helped him get it running (very little help needed)on the IBM7090 (or 704) at the center.

We have exchanged a few messages over the years and I have been keeping up on his work. I was quite startled to hear of his death.

He will be much missed by many people.

Doneley Watson
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125 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2009 :  09:37:12  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Although not registered in the message board, I have followed Tom's work for years and now I have only registered to give my condolences to his family. I am very saddened by the death of Tom. A great man is gone. I have no doubt that their work will be recognized in the future. Again, my sincere condolences to his entire family.

Ricardo Alcafuz
MSc. Meteorology and Climatology
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160 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2009 :  14:10:14  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I first encountered Toms work in the pushing gravity book. Later on, from biographical material, I discovered the Meta Research site. Upon joining Meta, I started by reading his dark matter, missing planets, new comets book. Im easily impressed and told him it equals in quality the University of Chicago Great Books. I expected Tom to be consumed with his projects and ideas and possibly be aloof. But when I posted perspectives on gravity and space on Meta, Tom was always there to respond. He subsequently supported my attempt to present at CCC2 and encouraged my gravitational redshift idea. I was surprised what a down to earth person he is. Great people can amaze you.

Fortunately, Tom provided important energy to the topics of pushing gravity and conquering the big bang nonsense. In addition to great thoughts he provided ongoing creations such as Meta Research. His leadership will be missed.

Paul Schroeder

paul schroeder
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United Kingdom
127 Posts

Posted - 14 Jan 2009 :  21:21:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Sadness. Great sadness.

Ian Farnworth
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144 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2009 :  02:57:23  Show Profile  Visit davidjinks's Homepage  Reply with Quote
My God. It was so fast. It's unbelievable he's gone.

My only solace is that I have faith Tom finally knows some of the answers to the Big Questions. That is comforting.

For those of us still here, well...there are few words to express our feelings of loss.

To the Van Flandern family: you have my deepest sympathies. Even in this time of sorrow, you surely realize how lucky you were to share a life with a special, gentle, friendly, yet fiercely independent man like Tom.

Today, let's revel in Tom's contributions to science and the seeds of inquiry he planted. Though it's uncertain who will possibly take up his fight, for now it's a question better left for future consideration.
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Leo Vuyk

323 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2009 :  07:26:41  Show Profile  Visit Leo Vuyk's Homepage  Reply with Quote
My condolences and sympathy to Tom's family.
A great man with great ideas and a flexible mind able to think out of the box is gone.
He will be much missed by many people.
With sorrow for our loss.

Leo Vuyk.
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Karim Khaidarov

126 Posts

Posted - 15 Jan 2009 :  07:26:44  Show Profile  Visit Karim Khaidarov's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We have lost the prominent researcher, independent thinker and good friend...

With sincere condolences,
Karim Khaidarov,
Bourabai Research,

Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more seriously reflection concentrates upon them, the starry heaven above me, and the moral law within me. - Immanuel Kant
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Matt Edwards

125 Posts

Posted - 16 Jan 2009 :  14:48:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was totally shocked when I heard the news. What a loss to science. I got to know Tom when I was working on the book "Pushing Gravity". From the start, Tom was enthusiastic and very helpful. His thoughtful, reliable participation really had a reassuring effect on this jittery editor. After the book came out Tom was also instrumental in making it well-known. Now a lot of people have heard about PG, thanks to him. In later years I had many interesting conversations with Tom about numerous topics. I never had a chance to meet Tom in person. I offer my condolences to his family and friends.

Matt Edwards
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125 Posts

Posted - 16 Jan 2009 :  20:09:01  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
On behalf of my film crew, hosts and myself,
I send our deepest sympathies and condolences.
We will never forget Dr. Van Flandern's generosity in sharing his knowledge and theories with us, and of course, the great hospitality Tom and his wife Barbara, showed us while we were visiting their home in May of 2007.
It was a precious moment we cannot forget.

Paul Stoichevski
Polar Shift Productions Ltd.
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Zip Monster

260 Posts

Posted - 16 Jan 2009 :  20:59:53  Show Profile  Visit Zip Monster's Homepage  Reply with Quote

The first time I spoke to TVF was back in 1999 when I called him (cold) at his office in Maryland and he actually answered the phone. WoW.

We spoke about Hoaglands position that the Face is a human/feline visage and he made it clear that he supported a totally symmetrical model. He would never consider the idea of a bifurcated formation. Over the years I engaged conversation with him on his Meta Research web site (heated at times) and finally got the chance to meet him at the first X-Conference in April of 2004. We met at the cocktail party (he was standing with his back to the wall all by him self). I walked up and introduced myself and we talked for about an hour debating the symmetrical and two-faced aspects of the face over a few drinks, but he was stead fast to his stance. It would have been nice to have known him better.

It is a shame that he passed just days before NASAs "big" press conference about the methane on Mars; he would have a lot of insights on its significance.

Burn bright, you cosmic diamond, the Bracelet of Heaven awaits.

Zip Monster

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286 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2009 :  10:59:00  Show Profile  Visit emanuel's Homepage  Reply with Quote
OMG I just found out. What can I say. I am very saddened. I have purchased over a dozen copies of his book and given them away as gifts. I refer people to this website all the time. I never met Tom but he has had a huge influence on me. My condolences to all his friends and family.

Emanuel Sferios
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William L. Chapin

125 Posts

Posted - 18 Jan 2009 :  21:37:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Annice and I were privileged to accompany Tom on five total solar Eclipse Edge expeditions beginning in Mexico in 1991 and ending in Zimbabwe in 2001. His knowledge, patience, kindness and friendlieness made each of the trips an unforgettable experience. We met Barbara and other family members on those trips, and our hearts and prayers are with them. Although Tom died way too young, reflecting on all the good he accomplished must be of some comfort to those who knew and loved him.

Bill Chapin

/William L. Chapin/
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134 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2009 :  15:20:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Posting on behalf of Paula Foggo:

What is a true scientist?

When I think of the one word that best describes Tom Van Flandern, commitment comes to mind. He taught me the importance of that word to a level I have perhaps seen only in my own father; commitment to his family, to health, to learning, to his work ethic, to his peers, and most importantly to the pursuit of truth in scienceat his own expense.

Rarely are we given the opportunity to cross paths with such a remarkable individual. In 1989 Tom, my then client who booked an airline ticket for the occasional astronomy conference, called to tell me he was starting up his own research company and asked for my assistance in organizing his first eclipse expedition. After explaining that I knew nothing about eclipses, little about hosting groups to foreign countries, and possessed few leadership skills, I said I was on board. He didnt care. He just gave me his trust.

Over the years Ive had the privilege of working with him on 6 eclipse and 2 meteor storm expeditions. He always strived to maximize the number of people who could experience this great phenomenon by making the tours as affordable as possible, and by strategically choosing the most optimum viewing sites for clear skies. I came to share this goal and Eclipse Edge Expeditions became the most important part of my travel career. I am grateful for the fact that, during his lifetime, he enjoyed success with every one of his 6 eclipse expeditions.

While on those tours I would always stay up the night before the eclipse, as if my watching the sky would control the clouds that threatened the two years of planning we had just brought to fruitation. It was not officially a success until Tom said so. As one of many commonly repeated conversations, I remember sitting with him at a picnic table in Bartin, Turkey waiting for the early reports from those participants with telescopes that we have first contact. Tom turned to me and said, I think were 4 for 4. On cue Id start crying to symbolize the relief.

What started as a business arrangement between a travel agent and her client became a remarkable relationship that only the students of the greatest minds can appreciate. Tom gave meaning to my career and the opportunities of a lifetime, but most importantly, taught me the importance of never compromising my principles in return for power, popularity, or prosperity.

In our last conversation Tom expressed concern over the future of Eclipses Edge. I promised him that, so long as any of his family members or colleagues are committed to continuing this legacy, I will be available to assist to the best of my ability.

It is with immense gratitude that I join with his family and friends in celebrating the life of Tom Van Flandern. He touched my life in a way no one else could. He was my friend, my teacher, my mentor, and my hero.

Tom, although I remember very little of what youve taught me about the constellations, I will never again be able to look at a star without thinking of you. Rest well dear friend and may you now have the final pieces to the answers you have worked so hard to discover. With love, Paula Foggo
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134 Posts

Posted - 21 Jan 2009 :  16:57:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Posted on behalf of Esko Lyytinen:

At my early stage of "more serious astronomical work" Tom was the the only one (besides my own family) to give me support and encouragement and the only one to whom I could write and discuss on astronomical things that interested me. Without his support, encouragement, suggestions and advice and trust, I would probably have never done, what I may have done, in part with Tom, to promote (in a small branch) the astronomy study and for example would not do now here with the Finnish Ursa fireball-group the fireball-data analysis etc that I am doing. Tom always had time to concentrate and deal with the things that I wrote to him and


I miss him,
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209 Posts

Posted - 22 Jan 2009 :  06:05:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My condolences to Tom's family.

May Tom's personality, dedication and work continue to be an inspiration to all.

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129 Posts

Posted - 26 Jan 2009 :  13:55:45  Show Profile  Visit boris's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Mike just emailed me this sad news of Toms passing.

I've known Tom since I was about 16 years old (thirty years ago!), when I first heard him talk to the National Capital Astronomers (amateur astronomers club), about the anomalous Uranus system. I was an avid amateur at the time, and I was intrigued and attracted to his novel thinking. Tom and I took an immediate liking to each other, and I remember he once arranged a night time visit to the Naval Observatory's Clarke refractor for me... I had stars in my eyes in those days (about astronomy).

I liked Tom a lot and of course was enthusiastic about his contrarian position in astronomy, which I discovered when we bumped into each other again in 1990 at the annual Division of Planetary Sciences conference in Charlottesville. I had already gone a different path with my career, straying from astronomy to become a technical illustrator after college, but my interest and intellectual pursuit of astronomy never left me. I became involved in the preparations for his book Dark Matter...

Through his work and the books (also Pushing Gravity, edited by Edwards), and the ongoing works in Metaresearch, he taught me a lot about how things work in the world (as well as outside the world). For this I will always be grateful - he changed my life priorities and worldview.

Over the years, Tom was always available to answer my questions or suggestions, which would usually be triggered by my readings in the MRB, or also by my readings elsewhere that I would bring to his attention. I dont know if that was ever of use to him, but he was always kind and enthusiastic and informative in his discussions with me. His uncompromising approach to the science of astronomy, and his zeal for life and truth remain an inspiration to me!

Im sure many others are similarly inspired by Toms life and work, and as can be seen on this board, people will carry on for him - carrying forward his life philosophy or science or both. His contribution to astronomy is already no doubt considerable, and through the ongoing work of his friends, it will be magnified as time passes.

Even though we had only infrequent correspondence in recent years, I'm going to miss Tom a great deal!

Good bye, my dear friend.


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