David Aguilar
(617) 495-7462

Christine Pulliam
(617) 495-7463


CfA Press Release
 Release No.: 04-13
For Release: March 18, 2004

Owen Gingerich Awarded 2004 AAS Education Prize

Cambridge, MA - Owen Gingerich, a senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and research professor of astronomy and of the history of science at Harvard University, has been awarded the 2004 Education Prize by the American Astronomical Society (AAS). The AAS is a national association of about 6500 professional astronomers, including many around North America and overseas.

"I'm a firm believer in the two-fold Smithsonian agenda, both the increase and diffusion of knowledge. I've tried to balance both of these, and I feel immensely honored that the education part is now also recognized," said Gingerich.

The official citation for Gingerich's award stated: The AAS Education Prize for 2004 is awarded to Owen Gingerich for his inspirational teaching of Harvard undergraduates for 35 years; for the training of several generations of graduate teaching assistants (who became far better teachers as a result); for introducing the fascination of the history of astronomy to readers around the world through his books and articles; for the creation of laboratory activities that instruct both students and teachers; for his advice and dedicated work on films and exhibits that have brought astronomical ideas to audiences far beyond the classroom; for his work ensuring the accuracy of historical information in textbooks at all levels; for his hundreds of public lectures in a wide array of scientific, historical and public forms; and for his many years of service as editor, reviewer, annotator, and mentor. His service to education has truly been historic!

Gingerich has received a number of other honors throughout his long career, including the Harvard-Radcliffe Phi Beta Kappa prize for excellence in teaching. He has given several plenum lectures for the AAS, and the George Darwin Lecture, the most distinguished lectureship of the Royal Astronomical Society.

In addition to his teaching skills, Gingerich is renowned for his work on the history of astronomy. He was a founding member of the AAS Historical Astronomy Division. He recently authored "The Book Nobody Read: Chasing The Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus," about his 30-year quest to view and study all existing copies of a key Copernicus work. "The Book Nobody Read" is already in its third printing after being published earlier this month.

He is a world traveler who has successfully observed 12 total solar eclipses. He also has an asteroid named in his honor: (2658) Gingerich.

The AAS established its annual Education Prize in 2001 in order to "recognize outstanding contributions to the education of the public, students and/or the next generation of professional astronomers." The award consists of an honorarium and framed certificate. Previous recipients were Frank D. Drake, Michael Zeilik, and Jay M. Pasachoff.

Note to editors: A high-resolution photo of Owen Gingerich is online at: http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/news/archive/pr0413image.html

Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics is a joint collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Harvard College Observatory. CfA scientists, organized into six research divisions, study the origin, evolution and ultimate fate of the universe.

For more information, contact:

David Aguilar, Director of Public Affairs
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Phone: 617-495-7462 Fax: 617-495-7468

Christine Pulliam
Public Affairs Specialist
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Phone: 617-495-7463, Fax: 617-495-7016

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