The Bruce Medalists


  portrait Photo 1932, courtesy Yerkes Observatory, University of Chicago
Otto Struve
12 August 1897 1948 Bruce Medalist 6 April 1963

Otto Struve was descended from three generations of noted astronomers. His education at the University of Kharkov was interrupted by World War I and the Russian Civil War, which left him a refugee in Turkey. From there Edwin Frost brought him to Yerkes Observatory, where he completed his doctorate at the University of Chicago and promptly joined the faculty. He directed four observatories — Yerkes, McDonald (which he founded and where a telescope is named for him), Leuschner, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (where he was the first director and encouraged the first search for extraterrestrial intelligence). He edited the Astrophysical Journal for more than 15 years. As Yerkes director he recruited an outstanding staff, including some of the world’s leading astronomers, among them Bruce medalists Chandrasekhar, Greenstein, Morgan, and Strömgren. Struve made detailed spectroscopic investigations of stars, especially close binaries and peculiar stars, the interstellar medium, where he discovered H II regions, and gaseous nebulae. He contributed to the understanding of the broadening of spectral lines due to stellar rotation, electric fields, and turbulence and worked to separate these effects from each other and from chemical abundances. He was a pioneer in the study of mass transfer in closely interacting binary stars. He wrote more than 900 articles, many of them popular ones, and six books.

Presentation of Bruce medal
Shane, C.D., PASP 60, 155-59 (1948).

Other awards
American Astronomical Society, Henry Norris Russell Lectureship, 1957.
National Academy of Sciences, Henry Draper Medal, 1949.
Royal Astronomical Society, Gold medal, 1944, presented by E.A. Milne, MNRAS 104, 112 (1944).

Some offices held
American Astronomical Society, President, 1946-49.
Astronomical Society of the Pacific, President, 1951.
International Astronomical Union, President, 1952-55.

Biographical materials
Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley
Cowling, T.G., Biographical Memoirs of the Royal Society 10, 283-304 (1964).
Fernie, J.D., “Otto Struve II,” JRASC 73, 65-67 (1979).
Kourganoff, Vladimir, “Otto Struve: Scientist and Humanist,” Sky & Telescope 75, 379-81 (1988).
Krisciunas, Kevin, “More about Otto Struve,” Sky & Telescope 76, 229-30 (1988).
Krisciunas, Kevin, Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences 61, 350-387 (1992).
Payne-Gaposchkin, Cecilia, “Otto Struve as an Astrophysicist,” Sky & Telescope 25, 308 (1963).
Schorn, Ronald A., Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers, 2nd ed. (Springer, NY, 2014), pp. 2093-2095.
Sokolovskaya, Z.K., Dictionary of Scientific Biography 13, 115-20.
Sweitzer, James S., “A Most Exceptional Star: The Life of Otto Struve,” Griffith Observer 51, 9, 2 (1987).
Unsöld, Albrecht, Sterne und Menschen (Springer-Verlag, 1972), pp. 53-60.

Chandrasekhar, S., Ap.J. 139, 423 (1964).
Goldberg, Leo, QJRAS 5, 284-290 (1964).
Kukarkin, B.V. & P.G. Kulikovskii, Astronomicheskii Zhurnal 40, 1126-29 (1963) [English Translation in Soviet Astronomy 7, 859-61 (1964)].
Odgers, G.J., JRASC 57, 170-72 (1963).
Öpik, E.J., Irish Astronomical Journal 6, 153-54 (1963).
Phillips, John G., PASP 75, 501-04 (1963).
Swings, P., l’Astronomie 77, 243-45 (1963) [in French].
Unsöld, Albrecht, Mitteilungen der Astronomischen Gesellschaft (1963).

AIP Center for History of Physics (several)
McDonald Observatory

Named after him
Lunar crater Struve
Minor planet #2227 Otto Struve
Otto Struve Telescope at McDonald Observatory

More references

The Bruce Medalists

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