Sunday, January 25, 2009

January 26: Leo Goldberg

Leo Goldberg
January 26, 1913 – November 1, 1987

Leo Goldberg was one of the most distinguished leaders of the astronomical community in this century. He achieved outstanding success in the application of atomic physics to astrophysical problems, and is best known for pioneering efforts in the study of the sun from space. He is also known for his contributions to our understanding of gaseous nebulae, and to solar and stellar physics.  

Goldberg was director of three important observatories: University of Michigan (1946-60), Harvard (1960-71), where he was responsible for recruiting a number of outstanding young astronomers and nurturing a number of new research programs, and Kitt Peak National Observatory (1971-77), where he oversaw the commissioning and initial instrumentation of the Mayall and Blanco 4-meter telescopes. 

He played an important role in founding the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Kitt Peak National Observatory, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. He contributed real leadership as president of the American Astronomical Society (1964-66) and the International Astronomical Union (1971-76). From 1967-70, he served as Chair of NASA’s Astronomy Missions Board, and helped develop a strategic vision that led to a suite of ground-breaking missions that revolutionized solar physics and astrophysics during the ensuing decades. NOAO named their five-year fellowship in memory and honor of Leo Goldberg.

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