Bernard Burke, age 90, a 20-plus year resident of Cambridge and a professor emeritus of astrophysics at MIT, died peacefully on August 5.
He was born in Brighton on June (6) 7, 1928, graduated from Lexington High School and received a doctorate of physics/astrophysics from MIT.
He spent most of his professional career exploring the farthest reaches of the universe. He and his fellow radio-astronomers expanded the field of research into quasars, gravitational lenses and the origins of the universe, using international cooperation including astrophysicists in the USSR.
He believed life was to be experienced; whether hiking in the White Mountains or the Rockies, sailing out of Marblehead or exploring the many countries and cultures that his work took him to. In spite of his busy professional career, he always found time for his family, both immediate and extended, perhaps on a cross-country camping trip or with a game of chess. After defeating his young opponent he would often reset the board, so they could explore the possibilities that might have been in the game.
Above all, he encouraged all those who met him to challenge themselves to understand the world around them better.
He is survived by his wife Elizabeth (Betsy) Platt, his sister Sarah (Sally) Berenson, his daughter Elizabeth Kahn and her husband Cory, his son Mark, son Matt and his wife Sarah, 8 grandchildren and one great-grandchild; Betsy’s children Will Balliett, Blue Balliett and Julie Rose, and 8 grandchildren. He was predeceased by his first wife Jane Pann Burke, his son Geoffrey and his sister Clare Malloy.
A funeral mass will be held August 11 at noon at St. Paul’s in Cambridge. Keefe Funeral Homes of Cambridge is assisting the family with arrangements.