mountain profile Institute for Astronomy University of Hawaii

IfA Director Awarded Schwarzschild Prize

Maintained by LG

For immediate release
September 23, 2009


Mrs. Karen Rehbock
Assistant to the Director
Institute for Astronomy
University of Hawaii at Manoa


High-Resolution Photo:


thumbnail of presentation
17 Mb TIFF


presentation of medal
Dr. Ralph-Juergen Dettmar, president of the Astronomische Gesellschaft, presented the Karl Schwarzschild medal to Dr. Rolf-Peter Kudritzki. Photo by Rainer Arlt.

Dr. Rolf-Peter Kudritzki, director of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, yesterday received the Karl Schwarzschild Prize for 2009, the most prestigious award bestowed upon an astronomer in Germany, from the Astronomische Gesellschaft (German Astronomical Society) at its annual meeting in Potsdam, Germany.

As the recipient of the prize, Kudritzki gave the Karl Schwarzschild Lecture, “Dissecting Galaxies with the Brightest Stars in the Universe,” in which he explained how studying very bright stars in distant galaxies can help us understand both the chemical composition of the galaxies and their distance from us. The lecture will be published in the journal Astronomische Nachrichten (Astronomical Notes) and in Reviews of Modern Astronomy.

The event was presided over by Prof. Ralph Dettmar, the president of the Astronomische Gesellschaft, and attended by the Dr. Johanna Wanka, minister for Science, Research and Culture of the state of Brandenburg, the German state where Potsdam is located.

Tomorrow, Kudritzki will give a public lecture, “Killer Asteroids, Supernovae and the Dark Side of the Universe,” in Berlin. This talk will discuss the ambitious University of Hawaii Pan-STARRS project, which will survey the whole sky for 10 years.

Before becoming director of the IfA in 2000, Kudritzki was an astronomy professor and director of the Munich University Observatory. He is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences and was designated a highly cited author of the Science Citation Index in 2006. His research interests include the study of the largest, hottest stars in our galaxy and beyond.

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 Mauna Kea.

Established in 1907 and fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the University of Hawaii is the state's sole public system of higher education. The UH System provides an array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and community programs on 10 campuses and through educational, training, and research centers across the state. UH enrolls more than 50,000 students from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and around the world.