In keeping with its co-sponsorship by members of both the “close” and “wide” binary star communities, IAU Symposium 240 has been jointly dedicated to the honor of Czech astronomer Mirek J. Plavec and the memory of U.S. astronomer Charles E. Worley.
Charles Worley, long-time astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory, was born on May 22, 1935, in Iowa City, Iowa, and grew up in Des Moines the son of an M.D., Charles L. Worley, and his wife Iona Cooney Worley, a homemaker. He became interested in astronomy at age nine. His first observational work as an amateur astronomer was plotting and recording more than 10,000 meteors for the American Meteor Society. Continuing his love for astronomy he attended Swarthmore College, where he took part in the parallax program as an Observing Assistant. He also met the other love of his life, his wife, Jane Piper. They were married in 1956 next to Sproul Observatory on the Swarthmore campus. He obtained a B.A. in mathematics from San Jose State College in 1959. He worked for the Lick Observatory in California (1959–1961) as a Senior Assistant and Research Astronomer under a Naval Research grant to observe double stars. After arriving at the U.S. Naval Observatory in 1961, he was the motive force behind an extensive program of double star observation (being himself, a prolific observer), instrumental innovation, and double star cataloging. He quickly gained recognition as one of the world's leading experts in the field of double star astronomy. Charles died on New Year's Eve, 1997, two days before his scheduled retirement.