Jeff Medkeff, also known as the Blue Collar Scientist was an astronomer, writer, skeptic and friend to many of us. In the late 1990's, he began working in the field of astronomical technology as a systems engineer and software developer. He was also an asteroid hunter. As a result of his work he discovered or co-discovered hundreds of asteroids and named several asteroids after famous skeptics, including Derek and Swoopy of Skepticality and Rebecca Watson of Skepchick. There is also an asteroid 41450 Medkeff named for Jeff.
Jeff was a contributing editor at Sky & Telescope magazine and contributed to several other magazines, including Astronomy, Astronomy Heute and Consumer's Digest. Jeff was dedicated to science education and public outreach, in response to what he saw as a crisis in science education in the United States. He was a popular and regular speaker at the Campbell Creek Science Center and the Eagle River Nature Center, and occasionally spoke at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art and other area venues.
He also regularly taught short units on astronomy and physics to high-school students at the invitation of science teachers, with a concentration on scientific methodology, how we know what we know about the universe, and the consequences of uncertainty in measurement.
Jeff worked hard to make his presentations informative, interesting, and funny. Jeff succumbed to liver cancer in August 2008.
We miss him and are proud to host this event in his memory. Listen to the August 3: 365 Days of Astronomy podcast for a tribute episode to Jeff from his friends.