The Bruce Medalists


  Photo 1895, courtesy Mary Lea Shane Archives, Lick Observatory
Hermann Carl Vogel
3 April 1841 1906 Bruce Medalist 13 August 1907

Hermann Vogel studied astronomy at the Universities of Leipzig and Jena and then directed a private observatory for four years. He joined the staff of the Potsdam Astrophysical Observatory even before it opened in 1876, and served as its director from 1882 to 1907. Vogel made spectroscopic analyses of stars, planets, comets, and the sun. He was the first to demonstrate the sun’s rotation by measuring Doppler shifts of its receding and approaching limbs. He made detailed tables of the solar spectrum and attempted spectral classification of stars. Vogel’s most important work was photographic measurement of Doppler shifts to determine radial velocities of stars. He discovered one of the first spectroscopic binaries, and, with Julius Scheiner, made the first spectroscopic determination of stellar diameters and masses. He oversaw the design and construction of the Great Potsdam Refractor.

Presentation of Bruce medal
Townley, Sidney D., PASP 18, 101-110 (1906).

Other awards
Government of Germany, Order Pour le Mérite for Arts and Sciences, 1895
National Academy of Sciences, Henry Draper Medal, 1893.
French Academy of Sciences, Valz Prize, 1891.
Royal Astronomical Society, Gold medal, 1893.

Biographical materials
Bitterman, Jay, Lake County Astronomical Society
Fosmire, Michael, Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers (Springer, NY, 2007), pp. 1182-83.
Herrmann, Dieter B., Dictionary of Scientific Biography 14, 54-57.
Hughes, Stefan, ‘Catcher': The History of Astrophotography Blog, 21 July 2012
Tenn, Joseph S., Mercury  19, 6, 172 (1990).
Wolfschmidt, G., “Hermann Carl Vogel as a Pioneer of Astrophysics,” Astron. Gesellschaft Abstract Ser. 9, 85 (1993).

C[hant], C.A., JRASC 1, 360-61 (1907).
F[owler], A[lfred], MNRAS 68, 254-57 (1908).
Frost, Edwin B., Ap.J. 27, 1-11 (1908).
Leuschner, A.O., PASP 19, 238 (1907).
Lohse, O., Astr. Nach. 175, 373/4-377/8 (1907).
Macpherson, Hector, Observatory 30, 403-05 (1907).

AIP Center for History of Physics
Science and Society Picture Library
Steinicke, Wolfgang

Named after him
Lunar crater Vogel
Martian crater Vogel
Minor Planet #11762 Vogel

More references

The Bruce Medalists

Please send comments, additions, corrections, and questions to