The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) today announced Thursday the eight winners of its 2008 awards for excellence in astronomy research and education.
The 2008 Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal, the ASP’s most prestigious award for lifetime achievement in astronomy, has been awarded to Sidney van den Bergh, Researcher Emeritus, Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Dr. van den Bergh is best known for his distinguished work on galaxies and their stellar contents in a career that has included positions at the Ohio State University and the University of Toronto, where he mentored many students who have since become leaders in numerous fields of stellar and galactic research. His appointment as research scientist at the Canadian Research Council’s Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (DAO) led to a lengthy tenure as director of the DAO, during which dramatic increases in staff and productivity were achieved. Van den Bergh has also served as President and Chair of the Board of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Corporation and as Vice President of the International Astronomical Union.
He has made fundamental contributions to studies of local group galaxies, dwarf galaxies and galactic morphology, probing how galaxies change along the Hubble Sequence and as a function of intrinsic luminosity. Van den Bergh has also made significant contributions to the understanding of the extragalactic distance scale, globular and open star clusters, supernovae, and metal abundances and the chemical evolution of the universe. A prolific writer, Dr. van den Bergh has produced hundreds of refereed publications on a variety of astronomical subjects boasting a half-century of impact on international astronomy and astrophysics.
Awarded in most years since 1898, the Bruce Gold Medal is widely recognized as one of astronomy’s most prestigious awards. Previous winners include such influential astronomers as Walter Baade, Edwin Hubble, George Ellery Hale, and Fred Hoyle.