Thomas M. Donahue papers: 1939-2002 (bulk 1980-1998)
Summary Information
Title: Thomas M. Donahue papers
Creator: Donahue, Thomas M.
Inclusive dates: 1939-2002
Bulk dates: 1980-1998
Extent: 2.75 linear feet
Abstract:
Thomas M. Donahue (1921-2004), space and planetary scientist and professor of physics, was one of the nation's pioneers in space exploration. He shaped space exploration through his scientific research and advocacy. The collection includes correspondence, proposals, presentations, talks, writings, and photographs reflecting his career and covers the years 1939-2002, but primarily documents the period 1980-1998.
Call number: 07126 Aa 2
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2113
Phone: 734-764-3482
Fax: 734-936-1333
e-mail: bentley.ref@umich.edu
Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid created by Lanell Evon James, July 2006

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The papers (donor no. 9607) were received from Esther Donahue on May 24, 2005

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.

To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.

Copyright:

Copyright is held by the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright is not held. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.

Preferred Citation:

[item], folder, box, Thomas M. Donahue papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Biography

Thomas M. Donahue was born in Healdton, Oklahoma of Irish-American parents on May 23, 1921, and was raised in Kansas City, Missouri. He stayed in Missouri to complete his studies at Rockhurst College, and by 1942 he had earned degrees in both classics and physics. He left soon after to start graduate work in the physics department at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. His work was waylaid in 1944-1945 by service in the Signal Corps of the United States Army. Returning to Johns Hopkins he received his PhD in atomic physics in the fall of 1947, and from 1948 to 1951 he was assistant professor of physics.

Following his appointment as assistant professor at Johns Hopkins, Donahue joined the University of Pittsburgh as an assistant professor in 1951 and by 1959 he was promoted to the rank of full professor of physics, serving until 1974. While at the University of Pittsburgh he organized an atomic physics and atmospheric science program that led to the experimental and theoretical study of the upper atmosphere of the Earth and spacecraft explorations of Mars, Venus, and the outer planets. By 1974, Donahue concurrently held two director positions, one at the Space Research Coordination Center, 1970-1974 and the other at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Science from 1966 to 1974.

In 1974 Donahue joined the University of Michigan faculty as chairman of the Department pf Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, a position he held until 1980. Throughout his research and teaching career at the University of Michigan he was regarded as the foremost expert on the atmosphere and ionosphere of Venus, as well as how atmospheric chemistry influenced the evolution and behavior of planets. As such, Donahue pursued his growing interest in the problem of anthropogenic destruction of the stratospheric ozone by founding and directing the Project for the Integrated Study of Global Change from 1990-1992.

Donahue displayed a strong commitment to atmospheric science and space research through his professional activities and associations. During his early work with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) he was Chairman of the steering group responsible for two Venus missions. He was also an experimenter on several missions including Apollo-17, Voyager, Galileo and the Cassini mission to Saturn and the outer planets. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1983 and was the chairman of the Space Science Board of the National Research Council (NRC) from 1982 to1988. He has also served on numerous governmental and scientific advisory boards and committees, such as the Committee on Atmosphere Sciences, Geophysics Research Board, and several university consortia working groups.

Donahue received many honors over the years. He won eight NASA Achievement Awards, several NASA Public Service Awards, and the Wellock Distinguished Research Accomplishment Award from the University of Michigan in 1981. In the same year he also received the distinguished Arctowski Medal from the NAS and the John Adams Fleming Medal from the American Geophysical Union. In 1988, he was given the Space Science Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Also notable is the Henry Russel Award of 1986, one of the highest honors bestowed upon a University of Michigan faculty member.

Donahue authored over 200 publications and was editor of Space Research X in 1970 and Venus in 1983. He was also associate editor of Reviews of Geophysics and Space Sciences-Planetary and Space Science.

Donahue was a lover of his Irish ancestry. He studied both oral and written sources and was known for his efforts to support the establishment of the International O'Donoghue Society. He was survived by his wife Esther, and three sons: Brian, Kevin, and Neil.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Sources:

  1. Biographical sketch and resume, 12/18/1996, Biographical Folder- Box 1.
  2. "Thomas Donahue, 83, Expert On Space Exploration of the Planets," New York Times [Obituary] October 19, 2004.
  3. Engineering Faculty Pages: http://data.engin.umich.edu/faculty_staff/faculty/Donahue.html
  4. Thomas M. Donahue, 1921-2004, Daily Planet, Fall 2004.
  5. [Obituary- Thomas Donahue]. The University Record Online, URL as of 6/27/2006: http://www.umich.edu/-urecord/0405/Oct25 04/obits.shtml
  6. Planetary Scientist Donahue Dies at 83 The Ann Arbor News, B5, October 20, 2004.
  7. In Memoriam News of Michigan Physics, vol. 18 no. 1, Fall/Winter 2004, page 9.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The Thomas Donahue papers include correspondence, proposals, presentations, talks, writings, and photographs reflecting his career. The papers, 2.75 linear feet, date from 1939 to 2002, but primarily document the period 1980-1998. The papers are organized into five series: Biographical; Presentations, Talks, and Writings; Professional Activities; University of Michigan; and Correspondence.

Subject Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.


  • Space sciences.
  • Venus (Planet) -- Atmosphere.
  • Photographs.
  • Donahue, Thomas M.
  • University of Michigan. Dept. of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences.
  • University of Michigan -- Faculty.
Contents List
Request materials for use in the Bentley Library
Container / Location Title
 
Biographical [series]

The Biographical series (0.2 linear feet) includes versions of Donahue's curriculum vitae, lists of publications, and brief biographical statements along with scattered clippings. Also included are photographs of Donahue, both portraits, candid, and in groups. The photographs are undated but cover roughly 1950 to 2000.

Presentations, Talks, and Writings, 1939-1988 (1.0 linear feet) is a chronologically arranged sequence containing Donahue's presentations, talks, and writings. Included in this series are transcripts of testimonies given before government committees, both published and unpublished research writings, biographical records, lectures, and editorials. Also contained in this series are photos of Donahue and a VHS videotape of his lecture on "The Galileo Mission to Jupiter."

Box   1  
Biographical 1970-1997
Box   1  
Photos undated
 
Presentations, Talks, and Writings 1939-1998, undated [series]

Presentations, Talks, and Writings, 1939-1988 (1.0 linear feet) is a chronologically arranged sequence containing Donahue's presentations, talks, and writings. Included in this series are transcripts of testimonies given before government committees, both published and unpublished research writings, biographical records, lectures, and editorials. Also contained in this series are photos of Donahue and a VHS videotape of his lecture on "The Galileo Mission to Jupiter."

 
Chronological
Box   1  
Civilization, Culture, and Today and God December 18, 1939
Box   1  
Radiative Transfer in Planetary Atmospheres and Astronomy 1966
Box   1  
FAA Hearing on Concorde April 14, 1975
Box   1  
Effect of Odd Hydrogen on Ozone Depletion by Chlorine Reactions February 1976
Box   1  
Ultraviolet Stellar Occultation Measurement of the H2 and 02 Densities Near 100 km in the Earth's Atmosphere 1976
Box   1  
A Program of Stratospheric Research July 1977
Box   1  
Oxides of Nitrogen and the Clouds of Venus circa 1979
Box   1  
Lessons from Venus (draft) March 8, 1980
Box   1  
Comparative Planetology of Atmospheres (Presentation to the Solar System Exploration Committee April 20, 1981
Box   1  
Impact of the ISPM Decision on International Cooperation and Relations with the Scientific Community July 28, 1981
Box   1  
Copernicus Measurement of the Jovian Lyman-Alpha Emission in 1980 and its Aeronomical Significance, January 24, 1982 1980-1982
Box   1  
Direction of the Development of a Civil Space Station November 15, 1983
Box   1  
FY '85 Budget Request March 5, 1984
Box   1  
[Bevilacqua Paper (1983)] April 5, 1984
Box   1  
Letter to the Brown Alumni Monthly February 25, 1985
Box   1  
Water Vapor in the Atmosphere of Venus April 8, 1985
Box   1  
[Talk on Fred] September 30, 1985
Box   1  
Discussion of Mankind's Effect on the Stratospheric Ozone September 30, 1985
Box   1  
Mission to Planet Earth November 13, 1985
Box   1  
[FY '86 Budget Request] circa 1986
Box   1  
[FY '1987 NASA Budget Authorization] February 27, 1986
Box   1  
[FY '87 Budget Request] April 10, 1986
Box   1  
The Nation's Space Program After Challenger: The Roles of Manned and Unmanned Systems for Launching Scientific Space Missions May 21, 1986
Box   1  
Assured Access to Space: Payload Priorities July 21, 1986
Box   1  
[Hearing on] Assessment of Science Recommendations in Paine Commission Report and Implications for Space Science Program of Challenger Loss July 22, 1986
Box   1  
Report to the National Commission on Space July 23, 1986
Box   1  
How the Planets Got and Lost Their Atmospheres and Oceans April 10, 1987
Box   1  
On the Matter of Resignation of the Chairman of the Space Science Board April 13, 1987
Box   1  
Introduction to Space Science Issue April 13, 1988
Box   1  
Solar Cycle of H+ and D+ Densities in the Venus Ionosphere: Implications for Escape circa 1992
Box   1  
Hydrogen and Sculpture Compounds on Venus 1992
Box   1  
High Resolution Studies of Upper Atmospheric Weather February 6, 1992
Box   1  
EOS Report Contribution: Venus Symposium, August 17,1992
Box   1  
The Aeronomical Pilgrim's Progress 1995
Box   1  
Evolution of Water Reservoirs on Mars from D/H Ratios in the Atmosphere and Crust March 30, 1995
Box   1  
Waynick Lecture: The Galileo Mission to Jupiter (VHS Videotape) April 12, 1996
Box   1  
Scientific Interpretation of Galileo Probe Mass Spectrometer Measurements 1997
Box   1  
Composition of the Joint Atmosphere as Determined by the Galileo Probe Mass Spectrometer circa 1998
 
Undated
Box   1  
A Call for A National Policy of Preeminence in Space Science
Box   1  
Comets and Water on Venus: Venus Was Wet undated
Box   1  
Comparative Planetology of Venus and Earth undated
Box   1  
Experiment and Operations Sequence for ISO-SL 1 undated
Box   1  
An Interpretation of the Voyager Measurement of Jovian Electron Density Profiles undated
Box   1  
Interstellar Medium and Small Comet Contribution to Hydrogen Lyman-Emission undated
Box   1  
Methane Measurement by the Pioneer Venus Large Probe Neutral Mass Spectrometer undated
Box   1  
[National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958] undated
Box   1  
Planets undated
Box   1  
Science and the Space Station undated
Box   1  
Space Science in the Twenty-First Century: A Study by the Space Science Board undated
Box   1  
Temperatures in a Postulated Steam Atmosphere, and Implications for History of Water on Venus undated
Box   1  
Venus Methane and Hydrogen undated
Box   1  
Water on Terrestrial Planets (Abstract) undated
Box   1  
Why Explore Venus? undated
 
Professional Activities 1971-2004, undated [series]

Professional Activities, 1971-2004 (0.50 linear feet) is an alphabetically arranged sequence documenting Thomas Donahue's professional activity within scientific organizations, committees, and advisory boards, research related working groups, and national symposiums. Of particular note is Donahue's involvement with the National Academy of Sciences, where he served as chairman of the Space Science Board from 1982 to 1988. Also contained in this series is research-related correspondence of the Noble Gas Group, as well as a small amount of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) material concerning the Voyager and Challenger missions.

 
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Box   1  
Committee on Public Affairs 1990-1992
Box   1  
Spring Session 1998
Box   1  
Arecibo Advisory Board 1985-1989, undated
Box   1  
Consortium for the International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) 1990
Box   1  
Committee to Visit the Department of Earth and Planetary Science (Harvard) 1994-1997
 
National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
Box   1  
Correspondence 1984
Box   1  
Correspondence 1986
Box   1  
Correspondence 1987
Box   1  
Correspondence 1988-2004
Box   2  
Report Review Committee 1985
Box   2  
Voyager Missions Symposium 1989-1990
Box   2  
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) 1983-1992
Box   2  
Pioneer-Venus Orbiter Mission 1973-1978
Box   2  
National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center Advisory Board (Arecibo Observatory 1971-1974
Box   2  
National Balloon Facility (NSBF) 1985-1988
 
Noble Gas Group (Research Related) 1996-1997
Box   2  
1996 (2 folders)
Box   2  
1997
Box   2  
Space Lab 1 1983
 
Space Science Board (SSB)
Box   2  
Long-Range Study 1985
Box   2  
Summer Study 1984
Box   2  
USSR ESA Operations 1985
Box   2  
Space Telescope Institute Visiting Committee 1987-1989
Box   2  
Warren-Thompson Award Selection Committee 1985-1987
 
University of Michigan 1985-1993, undated [series]

University of Michigan, 1985-1993 (0.25 linear feet) is an alphabetically arranged sequence primarily documenting Donahue's involvement at the University of Michigan in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, the Astrophysics Institute and the Global Change Project. Within this series are materials related to the Donahue Memorial Colloquium. Of particular note is a photo album of the Donahue Memorial Colloquium from 1992. The album includes a tribute letter from Pulitzer Prize winning writer Russell Baker who was a student of Donahue's at Johns Hopkins. Also included are photos from his Henry Russel Award Ceremony in 1986.

Box   2  
Atmospheric and Oceanic Science (AOS) Review Committee 1985-1986, undated
Box   2  
Astrophysics Institute 1988-1993
Box   2  
Computation Notebook circa 1995
 
Global Change Project (GCP)
Box   2  
Corporate Sponsors 1989-1991
Box   2  
Correspondence 1989-1992, undated
Box   2  
Newspapers Articles 1990
Box   2  
Proposal 1989-1992 (2 folders)
Box   2  
Senior Faculty Search Committee 1992
Box   2  
Workshops 1988-1991
Box   2  
Henry Russel Lecturer Award (includes photographs) 1986
 
Donahue Memorial Colloquium
Box   2  
Invitations and Letters 1992
Box   2  
James J. Duderstadt's Presentation November 1992
Box   2  
Thomas Donahue's Speech 1992
Box   2  
Photo Album (includes Russell Baker letter)
 
Correspondence 1974-2002 [series]

Correspondence, 1974-2002 (1.0 linear feet) is a chronologically arranged sequence of materials that documents Donahue's general communications concerning research, nominations, proposal reviews, publishing and editorials, professional activities, and a small amount of genealogy.

Box   3  
1974-1982 (6 folders)
Box   3  
1983-1990 (8 folders)
Box   3  
1992 (3 folders)
Box   3  
1993 (2 folders)
Box   3  
1994-2002 (6 folders)