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2007 ASP Annual Award Recipients

Robert J. Trumpler Award
Edo Berger
Thesis at Caltech, now the Observatories of the Carnegie Institute of Washington

Edo Berger made seminal contributions to our understanding of gamma-ray bursters, one of the great enigmas of modern astronomy. The most basic information about these sources, their location, remained a mystery from the time of their discovery in the 1960s until the identification of the first GRB host in the mid-1990s showed they occur at cosmological distances. It is now generally believed that GRBs result from beams of particles in energetic explosions, at least some of which are supernovae.

Dr. Berger's thesis used data spanning a large range of observational techniques from x-ray to radio wavelengths to tackle the problems of energy generation leading to intense gamma rays. It also pioneered the use of GRBs as new cosmological probes of the obscured star formation history in the universe. His comprehensive analysis of the GRB hosts showed they are dwarf galaxies and are thus smaller than typical field galaxies.

His thesis work resulted in 12 first author publications while he was still a student. His contributions have continued to increase since he left graduate school, as he turned his attention to new data from the Swift satellite and the nature of short, hard x-ray GRBs.

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific takes great pleasure in giving the 2007 Trumpler Award to Dr. Edo Berger for his work on the understanding of gamma-ray bursts, revealing fundamental aspects of their nature almost 40 years after they were first discovered.