The Bruce Medalists


  Photo ca. 1951, Yale University, courtesy Dr. Dorrit Hoffleit
Dirk Brouwer
1 September 1902 1966 Bruce Medalist 31 January 1966

Born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Dirk Brouwer received his Ph.D. in 1927 under Willem de Sitter at the University of Leiden and then joined the faculty at Yale University, where he worked in celestial mechanics with Ernest W. Brown. While still a student he determined the mass of Titan from its influence on other Saturnian moons. From 1941 to 1966 he served as director of the Yale University Observatory and editor of the Astronomical Journal. Brouwer developed general methods for finding orbits and computing errors and applied these methods to comets, asteroids, and planets. Working with Wallace Eckert of IBM and Gerald Clemence of the U.S. Naval Observatory Nautical Almanac Office, Brouwer was among the first to use electronic computers for astronomical computations. He computed the orbits of the first artificial satellites and from them obtained increased knowledge of the figure of the earth. His book, Methods of Celestial Mechanics, taught a generation of celestial mechanicians. He also redetermined astronomical constants.

Presentation of Bruce medal
Henyey, L.G., PASP 78, 195-98 (1966).

Other awards
Royal Astronomical Society, Gold medal, 1955, presented by J. Jackson, MNRAS 115, 199-202 (1955).

Biographical materials
Brouwer, Dirk, McGraw-Hill Modern Scientists and Engineers, 1, 146-7 (1980).
Dieke, Sally H., Dictionary of Scientific Biography 2, 511-12.
Fosmire, Michael, Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomerspp. 173-74.

Ashbrook, J., Sky & Telescope 31, 146 (1966).
Danby, J.M.A., QJRAS 8, 84-88 (1967).
van de Hulst, H., Hemel en Dampkring 64, 83-85 (1966).

Named after him
American Astronomical Society Division on Dynamical Astronomy Dirk Brouwer Award
Lunar crater Brouwer (with mathematician L.E.J. Brouwer)
Minor Planet #1746 Brouwer

More references

The Bruce Medalists

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