mountain profile Institute for Astronomy University of Hawaii

Tully Wins Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize

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July 18, 2014


Dr. R. Brent Tully
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R. Brent Tully
R. Brent Tully. Photo by Igor Karachentsev.

University of Hawaii at Manoa astronomer Dr. R. Brent Tully is a co-winner of the 2014 Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize. Established in 2009 by the president of Armenia in commemoration of the great Armenian astrophysicist, it has been awarded every two years since 2010 to those who have made an important contribution in astronomy/astrophysics and related sciences.

The Special Astrophysical Observatory in Russia nominated Tully and his Russian collaborator, Prof. Igor Karachentsev, “for their fundamental contribution in the cosmology of the Local Universe.”

They share the prize with Prof. Felix Aharonian (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Ireland), who is recognized for his contributions to high-energy astrophysics.

The recipients were chosen by an international steering committee chaired by the president of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, which received nominations from national academies of sciences, universities and observatories in various countries.

The US$500,000 prize will be shared, with Aharonian receiving $250,000, and Karachentsev and Tully each receiving $125,000.

This is the third major prize Tully has won in less than two months. In June, he was one of four recipients of the 2014 Gruber Foundation Cosmology Prize for his role in understanding the structure and evolution of the nearby universe, and he also received the Wempe Award given by the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) “in recognition of his groundbreaking research about the structure of galaxies and the large-scale structure of the cosmos.”

On the faculty of the Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii at Manoa since 1975, Tully studies galaxies and their interrelationships in the cosmic web, with particular interest in the dark matter that holds these structures together. What has become known as the Tully-Fisher relation provides a way of measuring distances to galaxies, hence determining the size and age of the universe.

For more about Dr.Tully’s work, see A Video Map of Motions in the Nearby Universe,

For more information on the Gruber Prizes, visit Media materials and additional background information on the Gruber Prizes can be found at

For more information about the Wempe Prize, see

Founded in 1967, the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa conducts research into galaxies, cosmology, stars, planets, and the sun. Its faculty and staff are also involved in astronomy education, deep space missions, and in the development and management of the observatories on Haleakala and Maunakea. The Institute operates facilities on the islands of Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii.