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Astronomer shared great love of space

Space truly is the final frontier, and there is so much we don’t yet know about what’s out there.

Our area — and our world, really — lost a phenomenal scientist last week who spent his entire life and every ounce of his passion on not only researching space, but sharing all that knowledge with anyone who demonstrated an interest.

Ted Pedas, Youngstown State University professor, Ward Beecher Planetarium administrator emeritus and an International Planetarium Society’s founding member, passed away last week at age 82.

Ted had a gift for raising people’s interest in astronomy — often by meeting them at their age levels. For example, he helped young children learn the basics about meteorites while allowing them to touch the bits of space material and he ran astronomy shows for people of all ages, his friend and retired Youngstown State University professor Warren Young told our correspondent recently.

Professor Pedas, of course, also blessed his students at Youngstown State University with his vast knowledge of astronomy for decades.

He wanted others to share in his love for space, and he made it possible with his gifts of knowledge, coupled with his financial support. For instance, he donated funds to, and conducted shows at, Farrell High School’s planetarium, which has been renamed the Ted Pedas Planetarium largely because of his benevolence and donations to the Farrell Area School District. He also gave money for awards students were to receive.

Pedas championed science education at YSU’s Ward Beecher Planetarium, 1964 to 1994, and in Youngstown’s public school system, launching teacher workshops designed to change the curriculum from “rote memorization” to “discovery.”

As a founding member of the International Planetarium Society, 1968, he was recognized as an innovator in the fields of planetarium operations and education. He was elected fellow of the International Planetarium Society in 1996.

His many honors also include the U.S. Department of State’s Agency for International Development Award for “exemplary service in education,” in 1977, and twice was nominated as a finalist for Pennsylvania Educator of the Year in 1979 and 1981.

He further shared his space knowledge through a weekly column titled “The Cosmos” that ran in The Vindicator from 1996 to 2002, educating countless readers about astronomy and promoting the planetarium because he realized many, many people shared his thirst for knowledge about space and astronomy — regardless of their age.

Sadly, Ted Pedas passed from this world March 11, but thanks to the knowledge that he shared while he was here, so many now have a knowledge, as well as a love of space and astronomy they gained from him.

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