The Bruce Medalists


  Photo 1965, Princeton University, courtesy Prof. Schwarzchild
Martin Schwarzschild
31 May 1912 1965 Bruce Medalist 10 April 1997

Martin Schwarzschild, the son of German astrophysicist Karl Schwarzschild, earned his Ph.D. at Göttingen. He left Germany in 1936, researched and taught at Oslo, Harvard, and Columbia, and, after serving in the U.S. Army in World War II, joined the faculty of Princeton University in 1947. His work on stellar structure and evolution led to improved understanding of pulsating stars, differential solar rotation, post-main sequence evolutionary tracks on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram (including how stars become red giants), hydrogen shell sources, the helium flash, and the ages of star clusters. Much of this was done with R. Härm. Schwarzschild’s 1958 book, Structure and Evolution of the Stars, taught a generation of astrophysicists how to apply electronic computers to the computation of stellar models. In the 1950s and ’60s he headed the Stratoscope projects, which took instrumented balloons to unprecedented heights. The first Stratoscope produced high resolution images of solar granules and sunspots, confirming the existence of convection in the solar atmosphere, and the second obtained infrared spectra of planets, red giant stars, and the nuclei of galaxies. In his later years he made significant contributions toward understanding the dynamics of elliptical galaxies. Schwarzschild was renowned as a teacher and held major leadership positions in several scientific societies.

Presentation of Bruce medal
Henyey, L.J., PASP 77, 233-36 (1965).

Other awards
American Association for the Advancement of Science, Newcomb Cleveland Prize, 1957.
American Astronomical Society, Henry Norris Russell Lectureship, 1960.
American Astronomical Society Division on Dynamical Astronomy, Dirk Brouwer Award, 1992.
Association pour le Développement International del’Observatoire de Nice, ADION medal, 1985
Astronomische Gesellschaft, Karl Schwarzschild Medal, 1959.
International Balzan Foundation, Balzan Prize, 1994.
National Academy of Sciences, Henry Draper Medal, 1960.
National Medal of Science, 1997.
National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Jansky Prize, 1980.
Royal Astronomical Society, Eddington Medal, presented by W.H. McCrea, QJRAS 4, 180-82 (1963); Gold medal, 1969, presented by D.H. Sadler, QJRAS 10, 91-94 (1969).
Societé Astronomique de France, Prix Janssen, 1970.

Some offices held
American Astronomical Society, President, 1970-72.

Biographical materials
Bitterman, Jay, Lake County Astronomical Society
Mestel, L., Biographical Memoirs of the Royal Society 45, 469-84 (1999).
Ostriker, Jeremiah P., Biographical memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013.
Trimble, Virginia, Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers, 2nd ed. (Springer, NY, 2014), pp. 1963-65.

Dressler, Alan, “Four Stars of the Cosmos (Martin Schwarzschild, Eugene Merle Shoemaker, Lyman Spitzer Jr., Clyde W. Tombaugh),” The New York Times Magazine Jan 4, 1998, p. 44 col. 2.
Mestel, L, Bull. Astr. Soc. India 25, 285 (1997).
Ostriker, Jeremiah, Proc. Am. Phil. Soc. 143, 485-89 (1999).
Paczynski, Bohdan, Bull. Am. Astr. Soc. 29, 1485-86 (1997).
Paczynski, Bohdan, Physics World 10, 59 (June 1997).
Paczynski, Bohdan, Physics Today 50, 12, 90-91 (Dec 1997).
Pfau, Werner, Mitteilungen der Astronomischen Gesellschaft 81, 5-7 (1998) [in German].
Princeton University
Trimble, Virginia, PASP 109, 1289-97 (1997).

AIP Center for History of Physics (several)
Princeton University: Astrophysics Faculty in 1949

Named after him
Minor Planet #4463 Marschwarzschild [#837 Schwarzschilda is named for his father, Karl]
Schwarzschild-Haus, Astrophysical Institute Potsdam [with Karl Schwarzschild]

More references

The Bruce Medalists

Please send comments, additions, corrections, and questions to