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Kudritzki to Receive Highest German Astronomy Award

Courtesy Rolf-Peter Kudritzki.

IfA Director Rolf-Peter Kudritzki will receive the prestigious Karl Schwarzschild Prize for 2009 from the Astronomische Gesellschaft (German Astronomical Society) at its annual meeting in Potsdam, Germany, on September 22. This is the most prestigious award bestowed upon an astronomer in Germany.

As the recipient of the prize, Kudritzki will give the Karl Schwarzschild Lecture at the Astronomische Gesellschaft meeting. His lecture, which will be related to the title of the conference, "Deciphering the Universe through Spectroscopy," will explain how studying very bright stars in distant galaxies can help us understand both the chemical composition of the galaxies and their distance from us. The lecture will subsequently be published in the journal Astronomische Nachrichten (Astronomical Notes) and in Reviews of Modern Astronomy.

In addition, Kudritzki will give a public lecture in Berlin on September 24 in which he will talk about "Killer Asteroids, Supernovae and the Dark Side of the Universe." This talk is related to Pan-STARRS, an IfA project that will survey the whole sky for 10 years and find many hitherto undetected objects.

Before becoming director of the IfA in 2000, Kudritzki was an astronomy professor and director of the Munich University Observatory. He is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences and was designated a highly cited author of the Science Citation Index in 2006. His research interests include the study of the largest, hottest stars in our galaxy and beyond.

"I am both surprised and pleased to receive this honor," said Kudritzki. "Usually, it is given to a non-German astronomer," he added. Previous recipients of this prize include Nobel Prize winners Riccardo Giacconi, Joseph H. Taylor, Charles H. Townes, and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.