Remembering Ralph

This page is a place where people can share their memories of Ralph Krubner. Please feel free to share a story about him.

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01-12-08 08:49 AM

Lawrence Krubner (lawrence @ krubner.com)

I recall one night when I was 7 years old and my dad asked me if I wanted to go stargazing with him. I was very excited by this, partly because it meant that I got to stay up late, but also because I got to do this with my dad. He'd been a fan of astronomy since his own childhood and he had a lot of books from the 1940s and 1950s (somewhat faded now with yellowing pages) which charted where the stars were in the sky at different times of the night, and at different times of the season.

My dad and I went out into the backyard, which faces the woods and so it was pretty dark there, especially back then, before any nearby retail stores had been built. He brought his binoculars and his books and we figured out where certain stars were. I think this was the first time I ever got to use a binocular. At the time, new research had determined that the Barnard star, just 6 light years away, might have a planet just like Earth orbiting around it, so I was keen to figure out just where it was. We talked about the distances to the various stars, and how far a light year was, and we talked about the possibility that humans might be able to travel to the stars one day, far in the future. My dad told me that 98% of all the stars that I could see were in this galaxy, and that all the other stars I saw were actually other galaxies, at a great distance.

My dad subscribed to the magazine Scientific American and he would read me the articles and we would talk about the age of the Universe and the why the red shift existed and the theory of the Big Bang. Other articles might have covered stuff like the structure of an atom, and how there were 104 elements in the Universe, and how each element was made up of an atom with a different number of electrons and protons and neutrons. I believe my dad had every issue of the magazine from the late 1940s onwards.

Because of my dad, I grew up understanding that there were many different scales of distance that were important to science. In some sense, there is a great deal of distance between an electron and the atomic core that it is orbiting, especially if you compare that distance to the closeness of the protons and neutrons at the center. But in another sense, the moon is quite close to the Earth, especially when compared with the size of the galaxy, and both comparisons are true despite the fact that there is a lot more distance between the moon and the Earth than there is between an electron and its atomic core.

My dad would read to me each night before I fell asleep, and these would be the kinds of things we would talk over. This is before we got into science fiction and then, when I was 9 and 10 years old, dad would share with me some of his favorite sci-fi writers.

I've always been quite close to my dad, and have regarded him as one of my best friends.


01-12-08 08:50 AM

Lawrence Krubner (lawrence @ krubner.com)

Everyone should feel free to share a memory about Ralph Krubner.


01-13-08 02:20 PM

Sharon Bialy-Foz (sbf54 @ yahoo.com)

I met Ralph in the Ocean County Camera Club back in the 1980's. While I was completely new to the art of photography, it didn't take long to discover what an outstanding photographer Ralph was and how patient and willing he was to teach us newbies. Unlike many photographers I have met, Ralph's ego never got in the way. He was easygoing and always willing to help or explain 'how to'. Because of Ralph and the Camera Club, I have grown to love the art myself.
Recently I rejoined the Club after a long hiatus. Ralph was willing to explain a question about my new camera that I couldn't figure out. I realized then that he had been a mentor to me and how much I appreciated all the knowledge he had unselfishly shared.
Having finally competed my way up to Ralph's group in the club, I looked forward to using his score as a benchmark for my own level.
Not knowing Ralph was ill, it came as a terrible shock when I learned he was gone.
My biggest regret was never having the chance to tell him how much his kindness and encouragement has meant to me. He was my role model & mentor. To me, Ralph WAS the Camera Club.

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Remembering Ralph