Thursday, May 29, 2008

Astronomer Maarten Schmidt Honored

From Caltech Today:
Astrophysicist Wins One of First Kavli Prizes

Quasars, now known to be compact halos of matter that surround the massive black holes of distant galaxies, were once thought to be stars in our own galaxy. Now, Maarten Schmidt, who first showed that quasars are thousands of millions of light years away from Earth, has been named one of the first recipients of the $1-million Kavli Prize for his contributions to the field of astrophysics. Schmidt, the Moseley Professor of Astronomy, Emeritus, at the California Institute of Technology, is one of seven recipients of the new Kavli Prize. He shares the astrophysics award with Donald Lynden-Bell of Cambridge University, who was also a postdoc at Caltech from 1960-1962.
Schmidt did his quasar work on the Hale Telescope in the early 1960s. He received national attention for it and was on the cover of Time Magazine March 11, 1966. A good account of his quasar and other research can be found in First Light by Richard Preston.

Update: Read the full press release here.

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