I'm in Cambridge, MA for the celebration of Dave Latham's 50 years in astronomy. Dave is an astronomer at the Harvard Center for Astrophysics (my soon-to-be home) and one of the pioneers in the field of precision radial velocity measurements. In fact, in 1989 he found the first planet, HD114762b, which is now known as Latham's Planet (read here or see Latham et al. 1989).
At the celebratory dinner I learned that, among many other interesting things, Dave was once a world-class endurance motorcycle racer. Seriously. He was once the best in the US and ranked #14 worldwide. He was even sponsored by Kawasaki Motorcycles who provided him with a competition bike. Here's an ad I found after a bit of Googling:
The caption reads
Dave Latham is an astronomer for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, a profession which demands technical precision. He is also a motorcycle competitor---a gold medal winner at the Isle of Man I.S.D.T. Dave chose the Ossa bike for his competition bike. His Ossa bike has successfully completed the following events:
1970 International Six Day Trials El Escorial, Spain
350 Mile Lonesome Pine
National Enduro, Virginia
500 Mile Greenhorn National Enduro, California
Trask Mountain Two-Day International Trials, Oregon
The Corduroy 500 Mile Canadian National
…plus hundreds of miles of riding, and winning local events. 1972 Dave Latham Ossa competition bike – Reliability above allHow appropriate it is that the add highlighted Dave's precise velocity!