The Michigan Engineer News Center

Michigan Aerospace Remembers Apollo 15 Astronaut and Alumnus Al Worden

Apollo 15 Astronaut and University of Michigan Aerospace Alumnus Alfred M. Worden passed away on March 18, 2020, in his home in Texas. | Short Read
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IMAGE:  Apollo 15 Astronaut and UM Aerospace Alumnus Al Worden

The University of Michigan extends our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Mr. Worden. He will be remembered for his unwavering curiosity and dedication to the progression of the field of aerospace engineering. His often contemplative demeanor may be best represented by his words on the Apollo 15 mission: “Now I know why I’m here. Not for a closer look at the Moon, but to look back at our home, the Earth.”

Worden earned his masters in astronautical/aeronautical engineering and instrumentation engineering from the University of Michigan in 1963. He served as the command module pilot for Apollo 15 in 1971, and logged more than 295 space hours over the course of his career. During the mission he remained in orbit while astronauts and fellow wolverines James B. Irwin and David Scott explored the lunar surface. He made three spacewalks on the trip home to retrieve film from an instrument outside the Apollo Spacecraft. Worden became President of Maris Worden Aerospace, Inc. and was VP of BF Aerospace after he retired from active duty in 1975. May he rest in peace.

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Al Worden NASA

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The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read