American Philosophical Society
Member History

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101. Astronomy[X]
1Name:  Dr. Jocelyn Bell Burnell
 Institution:  University of Oxford; Royal Society of Edinburgh; Trinity College Dublin
 Year Elected:  2016
 Class:  1. Mathematical and Physical Sciences
 Subdivision:  101. Astronomy
 Residency:  International
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1943
Jocelyn Bell Burnell is widely recognized as the individual responsible for the 1967 discovery of pulsars. With skill and perseverance she overcame the skepticism and resistance of her senior colleagues to make one of the most important and dramatic discoveries in 20th century astrophysics. In 2018 her essential role in the discovery was recognized by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation with a Special Breakthrough Prize. Bell Burnell donated the associated prize money to the Institute of Physics to support scholarships for individuals from underrepresented groups. Later in her career she worked in infrared, X-ray and gamma-ray astrophysics. More recently she turned her attention to education including the public understanding of science where according to the Royal Society, her contribution "has been uniquely valuable." The Royal Society web site refers to Jocelyn Bell Burnell as "one of the most influential scientists in the UK." She was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2018.
2Name:  Dr. Alar Toomre
 Institution:  Massachusetts Institute of Technology
 Year Elected:  2016
 Class:  1. Mathematical and Physical Sciences
 Subdivision:  101. Astronomy
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1937
Alar Toomre has been a true pioneer with his elegant and prescient studies, starting more than 40 years ago, of the evolution of the structure of galaxies. He introduced to these studies numerical simulations at a time when very clever approaches were needed to obtain useful results, due to the limitations of computer capabilities in that era. He also developed the deep stability criterion, the so-called Q criterion, for differentially rotating stellar disks. He was, in addition, the first to suggest and demonstrate that elliptical galaxies result from collisions of spiral galaxies. His early studies of galactic mergers were spectacular achievements. Overall, Toomre’s work has had a profound influence on the understanding of galactic dynamics and has largely set the direction of research in this now very vigorous and active field. Finally he made some substantial contributions to our understanding of the motions of the Earth about its center of mass. Among other awards, Toomre was awarded the 2014 Magellanic Premium of the American Philosophical Society in recognition of his beautiful and prescient numerical simulations over 40 years ago of the interactions of galaxies ("Galactic Bridges and Tails," carried out with his brother, Juri), and for his development a half century ago of the key local stability criterion (the "Q" criterion) for differentially rotating disks in galaxies.
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