Jane Wilhelms, professor of computer science
By Tim Stephens
Jane Wilhelms, professor of computer science and an expert
in computer graphics and animation, died of cancer on March
26 in Santa Cruz. She was 56.
Photo: Monica Lee
Wilhelms began her career as a biologist, teaching anatomy
and physiology for many years at junior colleges before returning
to school in computer science. Much of her work in computer
graphics, including techniques for animal modeling and animation,
drew on her background in biology.
Wilhelms joined the UCSC faculty in 1985, immediately after
completing her M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science at UC Berkeley.
She earned her B.A. in zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison,
and an M.A. in biology at Stanford University. Her experience
in computer graphics and animation included working as a consultant
programmer at Lucasfilm, where the Star Wars movies were
produced, while she was a graduate student at UC Berkeley.
The use of computer graphics to help other scientists visualize
their data was an area in which Wilhelms made significant contributions
at UCSC, serving as project director of the UCSC Scientific
Visualization Laboratory. The laboratory, used by faculty in
the Baskin School of Engineering and the Division of Physical
and Biological Sciences, was established with a grant from the
National Science Foundation in 1997 and received additional
funding from the NASA Ames Research Center.
A memorial service will be held April 14 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin,
where Wilhelms was born. In lieu of flowers, donations may be
made in Wilhelms's memory to the United
Pegasus Foundation, a California horse rescue organization.
Checks made payable to "United Pegasus Foundation"
may be sent to Wilhelms's sister, Janet Cutler, P.O. Box 5261,
De Pere, WI 54115.
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