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Dr. Michael, Penn Museum

Henry Michael

Dr. Henry N. Michael, a long-time senior fellow of the Museum Applied Science Center for Archaeology (MASCA) at the Penn Museum, died February 19 at the age of 93. A world-renowned dendrochronologist and anthropologist, he was associated with the Penn Museum for more than 60 years, beginning in 1938. His B.A. (1948) M.A. (1951), and Ph.D. (1954) were from Penn. From 1948-1980 he taught first at Penn and then at Temple University.

Dr. Michael was probably best known for his groundbreaking collaborative research with Dr. Elizabeth Ralph on correction factors for radiocarbon dates. He spent many summers in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, a federal preserve in California, collecting samples of ancient bristlecone pine, believed to be the world’s oldest known living organism. From the 1960s through the 1990s Dr. Michael continued to build his master chronology extending its way beyond 5,000 years by adding samples from long-dead, but still preserved trees, to reach back 10,000 years from the present.

Dr. Michael’s interest in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions was also of long standing, beginning with his Ph.D. dissertation, entitled The Neolithic Age in Eastern Siberia, completed in 1954.  As director and editor of the series Anthropology of the North: Translations from Russian Sources (1959-74), he published a number of books of translated works, his latest Levin and Potapov’s Historico-Ethnographic Atlas of Siberia.

In his mid-80s, he began a collaboration with Alexander Dolitsky, director of the Alaska-Siberia Research Center, on the translation (and publication) of the legends and fairy tales of indigenous peoples on the Kamchatku peninsula and along the Bering Straits. That collaboration resulted in three publications, and Dr. Michael continued his work on this project throughout the rest of his life.

In April 2000, Penn Museum awarded Dr. Michael with the Director’s Award—established by the Penn Museum to honor exceptional volunteer achievement.

“With the passion—and the patience—of a genuine scholar, Henry Michael has quietly ‘moved mountains’ in our understanding of time and events in the ancient past,” noted Dr. Jeremy A. Sabloff, then the Williams Director of the Penn Museum.  “Not content to be a leader in one field alone, he continues to study and publish about the Arctic peoples and their cultures. The Museum—and the world—has been immeasurably enriched by the tireless efforts of Dr. Michael.”

Information about a memorial service will be forthcoming. He is survived by his wife, Ida; daughter, Shelley; sons Andrew and Richard Michael; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Dr. Ness, Wharton

Dr. David Norman Ness, of Gladwyne, a former professor and vice dean of Wharton Undergraduate, died of complications following surgery February 18. He was 66.

Dr. Ness earned a bachelor’s degree from MIT in 1961 and then studied at Oxford University in England as a Rhodes Scholar.

In 1963, he returned to MIT where he earned a doctorate degree and also joined the faculty. While at MIT he worked on Project MAC, the pioneering research project that significantly advanced the development of computer operating systems.

Dr. Ness came to Penn in 1973 to take a position at the Wharton School. Initially he was associate professor of management, but later was appointed associate professor of decision sciences while still holding a secondary appointment in management. He also served as vice dean of undergraduate studies for several years.

Dr. Ness had been a member on the Business Advisory Board of LaSalle College and also served on the editorial boards of The Wharton Magazine and Sloan Management Review.

He retired from Penn in the late 1980s, but continued working as a consultant until 1993. He served as director of electronic data processing at TV Guide in Radnor and developed a confidential information management system for the investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc. in New York.

Dr. Ness is survived by his daughter, Antonia; and a brother, Stephen.

Dr. Wood, Dermatology

Margaret Gray Wood

Dr. Margaret Gray Wood, emeritus professor of dermatology and head of the division of dermatology in the School of Medicine, died February 9 of a pulmonary embolism at home in Overbrook. She was 87.

Originally from New York, she earned a medical degree in 1948 from the former Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania and completed a residency in dermatology at Penn, where she also earned a degree in general medicine in 1953.  In 1968 she became assistant professor of dermatology. Rising through the ranks, she was promoted to clinical professor of dermatology in 1980. She retired from that position in 1988.

Dr. Wood served as chair of the department of dermatology from 1980-1982, during which time she was credited as being the first to apply fluorescent microscopes to dermatology.

She was president of the alumnae association of Women’s Medical College for two years and received their alumni service award. She was the 1989 recipient of the Rose Hirschler Award given by the Women’s Dermatologic Society, where she was also a lifetime member. After serving the University for 39 years, Dr. Wood was honored by the department of dermatology with a portrait of her displayed in the Maloney Building.

Dr. Wood is survived by three daughters, Margaret, Moira and Deirdre; and three grandchildren.

Donations may be made to Camp Discovery, c/o American Academy of Dermatology, 930 E. Woodfield Rd. Schaumburg, Ill. 60173.



To Report A Death

Almanac appreciates being informed of the deaths of current and former faculty and staff members, students, and other members of the University community.

However, notices of alumni deaths should be directed to the Alumni Records Office at Room 545, Franklin Building, (215) 898-8136  or e-mail record@ben.dev.upenn.edu.


  Almanac, Vol. 52, No. 24, February 28, 2006


February 28, 2006
Volume 52 Number 24


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