2009 Bruce Medal Recipient Announced
May 2009 – The Astronomical Society of the Pacific announces that Dr. Frank H. Shu has been awarded the 2009 Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal for lifetime achievement in astronomy.
Dr. Shu received his bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT in 1963, and his PhD in astronomy from Harvard University in 1968. His career has included serving on the faculty of SUNY Stony Brook and at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was department chair from 1984-88. From 2002 to 2006, Shu served as president of National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, where he significantly expanded operations and programs. Since 2006, he has been Distinguished Professor of Physics and on the faculty of the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS) at the University of California, San Diego.
Dr. Shu is well known for his seminal theoretical contributions on the theory of spiral structures in galaxies and the theory of star formation—work that has shaped the field of modern astrophysical research in these fields, influencing the direction of both theoretical and observational studies. His fundamental contributions to astrophysics range from the density-wave theory of spiral structure in disk galaxies, to the process of mass transfer in interacting binary stars, to the modeling of the formation of stars and planetary systems. He has also made important contributions in understanding the origin of chondritic meteorites and their short-lived radioactivity, and the dynamics of planetary rings. He and his students, many of whom are now influential scientists themselves, continue to refine the theories, to predict new observational tests, and to explain the latest results in planetary system formation, structures of accretion disks, and other astrophysical phenomena.
Shu has been a prolific writer of research publications in his fields of expertise, and is the author of several books including The Physical Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, which has been widely used as a standard text by undergraduate and graduate students for more than 25 years.
Awarded in most years since 1898, the Bruce Gold Medal is 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.
The Bruce Medal will be presented to Dr. Shu at the ASP awards banquet on September 15 in Millbrae, California, in conjunction with the ASP’s annual national conference. More on the 2009 medalist may be found at http://phys-astro.sonoma.edu/brucemedalists/shu/.