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From 1952 until about ten years ago, Reaves specialized in extragalactic research. From his studies of the Virgo, Coma, and Fornax clusters of galaxies, he showed for the first time that dwarf (underluminous) galaxies are the most abundant kind of galaxy in the universe, that their numbers in the Local and other nearby small groups are representative of their numbers in larger clusters, not simply local statistical fluctuations, and that it cannot be ruled out, at least in the Virgo cluster, that the dwarfs contribute significantly to the total mass of the cluster. Reaves was also the first to note that in those clusters the spatial distribution of the dwarfs is entirely different from what one would expect if there were equipartition of energy among the galaxies in those clusters. He also made minor contributions to the study of supernovae, the distribution in space of clusters of galaxies, and the transparency of intragalactic cluster space.
For about the past ten years, Reaves' research has been directed primarily towards studying the properties of the Hirayama families of asteroids with a view to discerning the internal cohesion of the collisional fragments: rubble piles or semi-solid chunks of nickel-iron.
In addition, Reaves has studied various topics in the history of astronomy, including Leonardo da Vinci's drawings of the surface features of the Moon (predating Gilbert's and Galileo's by about a century) and the predictions of the existence and position of a trans-Neptunian planet by W.H. Pickering and Percival Lowell.
Educational Background: Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1952
Dept. of Physics & Astronomy
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1342
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