Dr Bobbie Vaile (1959 -1996)
Bobbie is especially remembered by the SETI community for her efforts in SETI research and education and as the founder of the SETI Australia Centre. She crystallised the idea for the centre that others were able to build on over the years, first in using SETI as an educational tool and then the research project she hoped for but never saw, Southern SERENDIP. Today Southern SERENDIP is piggy backed onto research at CSIRO's Parkes radio telescope where Bobbie spent many happy hours as an astronomer. It was her favourite telescope.
Science communication was also a passion for Bobbie and in her last full year at work - 1995 - she took every opportunity to hone her rapidly growing communication skills in print, radio and television.
Bobbie's zest for life was unflagging. In the first half of 1995 she worked as a volunteer observer on the SETI Institute's Project Phoenix when it came to the Parkes radio telescope for six months. Undertaking media at the same time could be tiring for her. Neverthless one evening, after working with yet another television crew at the telescope, Bobbie urged everyone to go outside and look. We did because Bobbie rarely took 'no' for an answer - and we were greeted by the deep reds and golds of a glorious sunset and her evident wonder at the beauty of planet Earth. Such expression in our busy lives seems rare. Bobbie had reminded us in her own inimitable way to take such moments to appreciate our planet and the gift of life, no matter how pressed for time we feel.
Dr Bobbie Vaile remembered
On December 17, 1999, a courtyard at the University of Western Sydney, Campbelltown Campus in New South Wales, Australia, was dedicated to the memory of Dr Bobbie Vaile in the presence of more than a hundred people including her family. Bobbie was special to everyone she came in contact with. People, above all else, were important to her.
Asteroid named after Bobbie
About a year after Bobbie died she was honoured in the naming of a minor planet discovered by R.H.McNaught at the Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales. The minor planet was discover on January 4, 1989. R.H.McNaught and Paul Cass were the proposers for the naming of the minor planet and Jim Caswell wrote the citation for the Commission 20 of the International Astronomical Union, Minor Planet Centre, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. The citation reads: "To many colleagues and students Bobbie was a uniquely understanding and close friend, and she remains an inspiration."