National Science Foundation
Statement by Dr. Kelly K. Falkner, Director of the Division of Polar Programs, on the death of Alberto Behar
January 12, 2015
On behalf of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Polar Programs, I wish to express our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Alberto Behar, who died in an airplane crash on January 9th.
Behar, a researcher with Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, who was also employed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, was a colleague and friend to many of us.
His contributions to the scientific understanding of the polar regions were varied and significant, focusing mainly on robotic systems for measuring ice sheets in the Antarctic and Greenland.
His National Science Foundation-supported research included developing new devices that allowed researchers to safely and cleanly explore subglacial lakes and underwater vehicles that measure ocean and ice interactions in the Amundsen Sea as well as the deployment of global positioning system sensors to measure ice-mass loss in the Antarctica.
He personally designed and built many instruments and vehicles that have expanded our understanding of both polar regions. Behar and his brilliant engineering, which advanced polar research and reflected his own passionate desire to explore the unknown, will be missed.
We express our deepest sympathy and our regrets to his wife Mary, and the couple’s three children, Indra, Isis and Athena.
Dr. Kelly K. Falkner