Robert N. Bolster

Former research chemist and naval reservist Robert N. Bolster died June 1, 2018. After graduation from the
University of Virginia in 1956 and naval service on the USS Valley Forge, Bob entered on a career at the
Naval Research Laboratory working on advanced technologies in surface chemistry. He developed a
paper that dissolved in water (used for secret documents carried in submarines), a lubricant used on
weapons in extreme temperatures, and performed tests on a sample from the Monitor’s hull after it
was raised from the bottom. Bob’s “hobby” was astronomy, where his skills were professional. He built
a small observatory in his back yard, and with a like-minded group of hobbyists, constructed an
observatory on a mountain top near Haymarket which they called Hopewell. He machined gears in his
basement for drives that tracked heavenly bodies for observation and photography. He took a photo of
Halley’s Comet in 1986 that was published in Sky and Telescope, a key publication for astronomers. Bob
was passionate about popularizing astronomy, and he hosted dozens of open houses at Hopewell for
families to bring their children to observe heavenly bodies.
Inurnment is planned at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date.

One Response to Robert N. Bolster

  1. Michael Whalen says:

    Rest in Peace Mr. Bolster

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