The Bruce Medalists


  Photo 1952, courtesy University of California, San Diego
Eleanor Margaret Peachey Burbidge
12 August 1919 1982 Bruce Medalist 5 April 2020

Margaret Burbidge was born in England and educated at the University of London, where she remained until 1951. She worked at Yerkes Observatory and the California Institute of Technology before joining the faculty of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in 1962. She held many administrative positions, including that of director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory and first director of the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences at UCSD. In 1957 she, Geoffrey R. Burbidge, William A. Fowler and Fred Hoyle showed how all of the elements except the very lightest are produced by nuclear reactions in stellar interiors. She also studied spectra of galaxies, determining their rotations, masses, and chemical composition, and she achieved particular renown for spectroscopic studies of quasars. She played a major role in developing instrumentation for the Hubble Space Telescope.

Personal Web Page

Presentation of Bruce medal
Arp, H.C. & A. Fraknoi, Mercury 11, 154 (1982).

Other awards
American Astronomical Society, Helen Warner Prize, 1959 (with Geoffrey Burbidge); Henry Norris Russell Lectureship, 1984.
Association pour le Développement International de l’Observatoire de Nice, ADION medal, 1987
National Science Foundation, National Medal of Science, 1983.
National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Karl G. Jansky Lectureship, 1977.
Royal Astronomical Society, Gold medal, 2005 (with Geoffrey Burbidge).
World Cultural Council, Albert Einstein World Award of Science, 1988.

Some offices held
American Association for the Advancement of Science, President, 1983.
American Astronomical Society, President, 1976-78.

Biographical materials
Burbidge, E.M., “Watcher of the Skies,” Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 32, 1-36 (1994).
Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics
Oleck, Joan, “E. Margaret Burbidge,” in Notable 20th Century Scientists (Gale Research, Detroit, MI, 1995), pp. 375-80.
Skuse, Benjamin, “Happy Birthday, Margaret,” Sky & Telescope, July 2019.
Warren, Rebecca Lowe in Shearer, Benjamin F. & Barbara S., eds. Notable Women in the Physical Sciences: a Biographical Dictionary (Greenwood Press, Westport, CT & London, 1997), pp. 27-32.

Dillon, Cynthia, University of California, San Diego, 9 April 2020.
Fox, Margalit, New York Times, 7 April 2020.
Smith, Harrison, Washington Post, 8 April 2020.

AIP Center for History of Physics (several)
Caltech Archives (several)
Clemson University Photo Archive in Nuclear Astrophysics

Named after her
Minor Planet #5490 Burbidge University of California, San Diego, Margaret Burbidge Visiting Professorship of Physics and Astronomy

More references

The Bruce Medalists

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