UA Science

You are here

Remembering William “John” Cocke 1937 - 2022

On July 4, 2022, at the age of 84, Professor Emeritus William Johnston Cocke III, aka John, “passed on to his next great adventure,” as his family communicated in his obituary. John is survived by Claire, two children Caitlyn and Nathaniel, his brother Stanley H. Cocke, and beloved grandchildren Patrick, Anika, Phobe, and Iris. 

John was graduated from NC State (1959) and earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics from Cornell University in 1964, working under the supervision of Phillip Morrison. He then assisted with the invention of the GPS with the Navy as a civilian contractor in 1966. In August 1968, he accepted a position at Steward Observatory.  He retired 32 years later, beloved by students and notably remembered for leading the team that discovered the optical pulsar in the Crab Nebula in 1968. John was also a self-taught master calligrapher.  

To make a donation in John’s honor, his family would like you to support the next generation of Steward Observatory astronomers by donating to our fund which supports undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral fellows.