John N. Bahcall Posthumously Awarded Scientific Achievement Medal From Nasa

John n. Bahcall Posthumously Awarded Scientific Achievement Medal From Nasa

John Norris Bahcall, the late Richard Black Professor of Astrophysics in the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study, was posthumously awarded NASA's Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal. NASA Administrator Michael Griffin presented the award today to Dr. Bahcall's widow, Dr. Neta Bahcall, during a ceremony at the 207th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, DC.

The award acknowledges Dr. Bahcall's lifetime of achievement, including his work on development of the Hubble Space Telescope.

"In his 70 years, John Bahcall was a legend in this community," NASA Administrator Griffin said. "I have followed the career of John Bahcall and long admired his scientific accomplishments and passionate advocacy for space-based astronomy."

Among Dr. Bahcall's five decades of accomplishments was his groundbreaking work in the 1960s toward explaining the scientific mysteries of the sun. He later partnered with astronomers Lyman Spitzer and George Field to develop the bold concept that became Hubble.

A recipient of the National Medal of Science, president of the American Astronomical Society, President-Elect of the American Physical Society, and a prominent leader of the astrophysics community, Dr. Bahcall passed away on August 17, 2005, in New York City. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Neta Bahcall, Professor of Astrophysics at Princeton University; their children Safi, Dan and Orli; and a brother, Robert.

Dr. Bahcall had a long and prolific career in astronomy and astrophysics, marked by the publication of more than five hundred technical papers, books, and popular articles. Dr. Bahcall came to the Institute in 1968 as a Member. He was appointed to the Faculty in 1971, and had served as the Richard Black Professor since 1997.

"John always did what he loved, and he did it until the end," said Neta Bahcall. "We had an incredible 40 years together. We were best friends; we were scientific colleagues; and we were the love of each other's lives."

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