The Bruce Medalists


  Photo courtesy Prof. Lynden-Bell
Donald Lynden-Bell
5 April 1935 1998 Bruce Medalist 5 February 2018

Donald Lynden-Bell was educated at the University of Cambridge, where, after postdoctoral periods there and at the California Institute of Technology and the Royal Greenwich Observatory (then at Herstmonceux Castle), he became professor of astrophysics in 1972. He formally retired in 2001 but remained fully active in research until near the end of his life. He was known for significant contributions to the theories of star motions, the formation of the Galaxy, spiral structure in galaxies, chemical evolution of galaxies, and the distributions and motions of galaxies and quasars. He also worked on the mechanisms behind magnetohydrodynamic jets and relativistic disks. His 1962 paper with Olin Eggen and Allan Sandage, proposing that the Galaxy formed in a free-falling collapse, has stimulated an enormous amount of research. In 1969 he proposed that emissions from the centers of nearby galaxies may represent dead quasars. He proposed that quasars are the results of accretion disks around giant black holes in galactic nuclei. He was the senior member and chief theorist of the group of seven astronomers who investigated the motions of nearby galaxy clusters in the 1980s and who proposed the “Great Attractor” to explain them. He worked extensively on the relation of the nature of the universe to inertia (Mach's Principle) and also on negative heat capacities. With his wife Ruth, a chemist, he investigated thermodynamic equilibrium in clusters of stars and galaxies. His last research dealt with problems in magnetohydrodynamics, telescope optics, cosmology, and relativistic physics.

Personal Web Page
At International Center for Scientific Research

Presentation of Bruce medal
Mercury 27, 3, 5 (1998).

Other awards
American Astronomical Society, Henry Norris Russell Lectureship, 2000.
American Astronomical Society Division on Dynamical Astronomy, Dirk Brouwer Award, 1991.
Astronomische Gesellschaft, Karl Schwarzschild Medal, 1983.
Kavli Foundation, Kavli Prize for Astrophysics, 2008
National Academy of Sciences, John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science, 2000.
Royal Astronomical Society, Eddington Medal, 1984, presented by R. Hide, QJRAS 25, 3, 231 (1984); Gold Medal, 1993, presented QJRAS 34, 3, 273 (1993).

Some offices held
Royal Astronomical Society, President, 1985-87.

Biographical materials
Earn, D. J. D., “The Publications and Citations of Donald Lynden-Bell,” in Gravitational Dynamics, Proceedings of the 36th Herstmonceux conference, in Honour of Professor D. Lynden-Bell’s 60th Birthday Held in Cambridge, UK, August 7-11, 1995, O. Lahav, E. Terlevich, R.J. Terlevich, eds. (Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, UK, 1996), p.249.
Lynden-Bell, Donald, “Searching for Insight,” Ann. Rev. Astron. & Astrophys. 48, 1-19 (2010).
Lynden-Bell, Donald, Brief autobiography on receipt of the Kavli Prize, 2008.

Anonymous, The Times (London), 8 February 2018
Coles, Peter, "In the Dark", 6 February 2018
Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, 7 February 2018
Klesman, Alison, Astronomy, 7 February 2018

Clare College, Cambridge
Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune, India (another)
Kavli Prize

Named after him
Minor Planet #18235 Lynden-Bell

More references

The Bruce Medalists

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