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2000 Cosmology Prize

Allan R. Sandage

Allan Sandage was born in Iowa City, Iowa, June 18, 1926. He became interested in science as a child when he spent two years in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and attended weekly programs at the Fels Planetarium of The Franklin Institute. He received his AB in physics from the University of Illinois in 1948 and his PhD in 1953 from the California Institute of Technology. While a graduate student in the early fifties, Sandage became an assistant to the great astronomer Edwin Hubble who discovered the expansion of the universe in 1929. In 1952 Sandage became Staff Astronomer of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and worked at the Observatories of the Institution from that time until he became Research Staff Astronomer Emeritus in 1997. Under the guidance of Hubble and then as his successor, Sandage took over his mentor's mission of using the 200-inch telescope on Mount Palomar to map and chart out the expansion rate of the universe. This broad set of goals has carried him into many realms of research: stellar evolution; age dating of the stars and the universe; quasars; galaxy classification; galaxy formation and evolution; pulsating variable stars; and methods of correcting for observational selection bias. In some of his early work Sandage developed methods of recasting theoretical cosmology into a form that could be tested by observation. His research has been reported in six books and more than 350 research papers. His important contributions to astronomy and cosmology have led to various honorary degrees from Yale University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, University of Southern California, Miami University (Ohio), Graceland College, and the University of Chile. He has also received several important awards, including the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1963); the Pope Pius IX gold medal (1966); the Elliot Cresson Medal of The Franklin Institute (1973); U.S. National Medal of Science (1971); and the Crafoord Prize of the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences (1991). Dr. Sandage and his wife, Mary Lois, live in Pasadena, California. Although he is Astronomer Emeritus, he can still be found most days continuing his work at the Observatories where he has worked for almost half a century.