The Bruce Medalists


  portrait Photo courtesy Dr. Sandage
Allan Rex Sandage
18 June 1926 1975 Bruce Medalist 13 November 2010

The son of the nation’s first professor of advertising, Allan Sandage studied two years at Miami University of Ohio, served two years in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and then finished his bachelor's degree in physics at the University of Illinois in 1948. He then became one of the first graduate students in astronomy at the California Institute of Technology, where he earned his doctorate under Walter Baade in 1953. From 1952 until his death (emeritus after 1997) he was on the staff of the Mt. Wilson and Palomar Observatories (now the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science), where he began as a graduate student assistant to Edwin P. Hubble. His research was in stellar astronomy and observational cosmology. With Martin Schwarzschild he determined ages and evolution of globular clusters in order to obtain the ages of the oldest objects known. He calibrated all of the “standard candles” to determine distances of remote galaxies and several times presented (often with Gustav Tammann) revised estimates of the value of the Hubble constant. After nearly half a century of observing with the Hale telescope on Palomar Mountain, he used the Hubble Space Telescope to determine distances to galaxies using Cepheid variable stars. In the controversy over the value of the Hubble constant, Sandage and Tammann were strong proponents of a relatively small value of the constant, implying a relatively large, old universe. Sandage found the first optical counterpart to a radio source that would later be identified as a quasar, and he discovered many more, including the radio-quiet ones. He published photographic atlases of galaxies and many historical reviews, including a centennial history of the Mt. Wilson Observatory.

Presentation of Bruce medal
Mercury 4, 6, 2 (1975).

Other awards
American Astronomical Society, Henry Norris Russell Lectureship, 1972.
Association pour le Développement International de l’Observatoire de Nice, ADION medal, 1988
Franklin Institute, Elliot Cresson medal, 1973.
Peter Gruber Foundation, Cosmology Prize, 2000.
National Medal of Science, 1970.
National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Jansky Lectureship, 1991.
Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Gold Medal.
Royal Astronomical Society, Eddington Medal, presented by W.H. McCrea, QJRAS 4, 180-82 (1963); Gold medal, 1967, presented by T.G. Cowling, QJRAS 8, 126-28 (1967).
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Crafoord Prize, 1991.

Biographical materials
Bonnet-Bidaud, J. M., “Allan Sandage: L’Architecte de l’Expansion,” Ciel et Espace 338, 44-48 (1998). [in French]
Ferris, Timothy, “Minds and Matter,” New Yorker 71, 12, 46 (1995) [abstract].
Golden, Frederic, “Astronomy’s Feisty Old Man,” Astronomy 25, 12, 55 (1997).
Lynden-Bell, Donald & François Schweizer, Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society [arXiv:1111.5646 (2011)].
Overbye, Dennis, “He Was Mr. Universe, but He Was Really in Love With the Stars,” New York Times, 22 November 2010.
Panek, Richard, “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Cosmologist,” New York Times Magazine, 25 July 1999.
Sandage, Allan, interview with Alan Lightman, in Lightman, Alan & Roberta Brawer, Origins: The Lives and Worlds of Modern Cosmologists (Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, UK, 1990), pp. 67-84.
Strauss, Michael A., Gruber Cosmology Prize biographical statement
Tammann, G.A. & B. Reindl, “Allan Sandage and the Cosmic Expansion,” Astrophysics and Space Science 341, 3-14 (2012) [Preprint available free at arXiv1112.0170 (2011)].

Beatty, Kelly, Sky and Telescope, 15 November 2010 (online).
Carnegie Institution for Science, 17 November 2010 (online).
Childs, Martin, The Independent, 22 November 2010 (online).
Cooper, Keith, Astronomy Now, 16 November 2010 (online)
DeVorkin, David H., Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society 43, id 39 (2011).
Kennicutt, R., Observatory 131, 109-11 (2011).
Lynden-Bell, Donald, Astronomy & Geophysics 52, 1.43 (2011).
Lynden-Bell, Donald, The Guardian, 9 December 2010 (online).
Maugh II, Thomas H., Los Angeles Times, 17 November 2010 (online).
Overbye, Dennis, New York Times, 17 November 2010 (online).
Tammann, Gustav A., Nature 468, 898 (2010).
van den Bergh, Sidney, JRASC 105, 38 (2011).
Vaughan, Arthur H., PASP 123, 125-26 (2011).

AIP Center for History of Physics (several)
Caltech Archives (4 photos)
Photo at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, age 75, courtesy David Devorkin.

Named after him
Hubble-Sandage variable stars (with Edwin Hubble)
Minor planet #9963 Sandage

More references

The Bruce Medalists

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