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Dr. Jeremiah P. Ostriker awarded the 2011 Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal

June 2011 – The Astronomical Society of the Pacific announces that Dr. Jeremiah P. Ostriker has been awarded the 2011 Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal for lifetime achievement in astronomy. 

Dr. Ostriker, Professor of Astronomy at Princeton University, received his B.A. from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, subsequently performing post-doctoral work at Cambridge. Joining the Princeton faculty in the 1960s, Ostriker advanced to Professor in 1971, became Chair of the Department of Astrophysical Sciences in 1979, and served as university Provost from 1995 until 2001. From 2001 to 2003, he held the post of Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy at the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge (UK). He returned to Princeton to direct the Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering, and presently serves as treasurer of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Ostriker’s career as a theoretical astrophysicist is distinguished by its breadth of subject area, most notably in the area of cosmology where he performed seminal research on dark matter and dark energy. Over the past 45 years, he has authored or co-authored more than 500 papers on such diverse topics as the structure of rapidly rotating stars, the fundamental nature and distribution of pulsars, the nature of the interstellar medium, the dynamics and evolution of globular clusters, cosmic rays, stability criteria for galaxies, and dark matter halos.

He has been particularly active in computational cosmology, and worked on the development of sophisticated numerical simulations of the evolution of the early universe and the formation of structure in cosmology, including galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and the intergalactic medium. Ostriker was also influential in Princeton’s international leadership in observational astronomy, assembling resources and staff to carry out the eight-year Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which produced a data set since used in more then 2,500 scientific papers. He continues to serve on advisory committees for high performance computing.

Among his many other honors, Ostriker has received the Warner Prize and the Henry Norris Russell Prize from the American Astronomical Society, and the U.S. Medal of Science.

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, Jan Oort, Arthur Stanley Eddington, Lyman Spitzer, Jr., Yakov B. Zel’dovich, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (Ostriker’s Ph.D. supervisor) and Rashid Sunyaev.

The Bruce Medal will be presented to Dr. Ostriker at the ASP awards banquet on August 2 in Baltimore, Maryland, in conjunction with the ASP’s annual national conference. More on the 2011 medalist may be found at http://phys-astro.sonoma.edu/brucemedalists/ostriker/.

Founded in 1889 in San Francisco, the ASP’s mission is to increase the understanding and appreciation of astronomy — by engaging scientists, educators, enthusiasts and the public — to advance science and science literacy.