The Bruce Medalists

 

  Photo courtesy J.P. Lasota
Bohdan Paczynski
8 February 1940 2002 Bruce Medalist 19 April 2007

Bohdan “Bep” Paczynski was born in Wilno, Poland (now Vilnius, Lithuania), and educated at Warsaw University, where he earned his Ph.D. in 1967. He worked at the Institute of Astronomy (since 1975 the Nickolas Copernicus Astronomical Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences) in Warsaw until 1982, when he moved to Princeton University, where he was the Lyman Spitzer Jr. Professor of Astrophysics. After observational studies of polarization and absorption in the Galaxy and of variable stars, he turned to theoretical work in stellar evolution and accretion disks around compact stars and in close binary systems. He wrote a widely-used stellar evolution code. He was known for theoretical work on gamma ray bursters, where he was an early proponent of the now-confirmed view that they are at cosmological distances. He proposed the use of gravitational microlensing as a technique for detecting compact objects in the galactic halo, and he was a leader of two major Polish-American sky surveys: the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) and the All-Sky Automated Survey, which is photometrically monitoring ten million stars.

Personal Web Pages
At Princeton University
In Memory of Bohdan Paczynski

Presentation of Bruce medal
Naye, Robert, Mercury 31, 4, 5 (2002). See also the ASP website.

Other awards
American Astronomical Society, Henry Norris Russell Lectureship, 2006.
American Astronomical Society High Energy Astronomy Division, Rossi Prize, 2000.
American Institute of Physics & American Astronomical Society, Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics, 1992.
Association pour le Développement International de l’Observatoire de Nice, ADION medal, 1983
Astronomische Gesellschaft, Karl Schwarzschild medal, 1981, presented by T. Schmidt-Kaler, Mitteilungen der Astronomischen Gesellschaft 57, 25-26 (1982).
National Academy of Sciences, Henry Draper Medal, 1997.
Polish Physical Society, Marian Smoluchowski Medal, 2000.
Royal Astronomical Society, Eddington medal, 1987, presented by R. D. Davies, QJRAS 29, 97 (1988); Gold medal, 1999, presented Astronomy & Geophysics 41, 2, 2.6 (2000).

Biographical materials
Draine, Bruce T., Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, 2017.
Paczynski, Bohdan, “Gamma-ray Bursts: The Most Spectacular Fireworks,” in S. Alan Stern, ed., Our Universe: The Thrill of Extragalactic Exploration As Told by Leading Experts (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 2001).
Preston, G.W., “Bohdan PaczyDski’s Early Years,” in K.Z. Stanek, ed., The Variable Universe: A Celebration of Bohdan Paczynski ASP Conference Series, Vol. 403, Proceedings of the Conference held 29-30 September, 2007, at Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA (Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Francisco, 2009), pp. 15-28. Schmidt-Kaler, T., “Laudatio auf B. Paczynsk,” Mitteilungen der Astronomischen Gesellschaft, 57, 25-26 (1982) [in German].
Schultz, Steven, “Paczynski ‘OGLEs’ the Sky for Answers to Cosmic Questions,” Princeton Weekly Bulletin, 15 April 2002.
Stanek, Krzysztof Z., ed., The Variable Universe: A Celebration of Bohdan Paczynski (Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, vol. 403, 2009). [contains many chapters on aspects of Paczynski’s life. Individual chapters may be purchased.]
Trimble, V., “Place of Bohdan Paczyński in the Astronomical History,” in K.Z. Stanek, ed., The Variable Universe: A Celebration of Bohdan Paczynski ASP Conference Series, Vol. 403, Proceedings of the Conference held 29-30 September, 2007, at Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA (Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Francisco, 2009), pp. 171-88. Weidmann, Maxwell, “A Professor’s Journey: From Star Gazer to Discoverer,” Daily Princetonian, 6 February 2006

Obituaries
Boutin, Chad, Princeton University
Draine, Bruce T. & Robert H. Lupton, Physics Today 60, 10, 75-76 (2007).
Draine, Bruce T. & Jeremiah P. Ostriker, Nature 60, 447, 1064 (2007).
Dziembowski, W.A., PASP 119, 836-41 (2007).
Lasota, Jean-Pierre, Astronomy & Geophysics 48, 4.39 (2007).
Mao, Shude, “A Tribute to Bohdan Paczynski (1940-2007),” in E. Kerins, S. Mao, N. Rattenbury, & L. Wyrzykowski, eds., Proceedings of the Manchester Microlensing Conference: The 12th International Conference and ANGLES Microlensing Workshop, PoS(GMC8)002, pp. 1-4.
Maugh, Thomas H., II, Los Angeles Times, 26 April 2007
Miller, Stephen, New York Sun, 25 April 2007
Pearce, Jeremy, New York Times, 26 April 2007
Spergel, David, Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society 39, 1077-78 (2007).

Portraits
Astronomical Society of the Pacific (another, accepting Bruce Medal 29 Sept 2002)
Images from the 1995 debate on the distances of gamma ray bursters
Princeton University

Named after him
Minor Planet #11755 Paczynski
The Alcock-Paczynski test to measure the cosmological constant

More references

The Bruce Medalists


Please send comments, additions, corrections, and questions to
joe.tenn@sonoma.edu
JST
2017-03-29