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Riccardo Giacconi

Riccardo GiacconiBorn: 6-Oct-1931
Birthplace: Genoa, Italy

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Astronomer, Physicist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Discovered cosmic X-ray sources

American astrophysicist Riccardo Giacconi won the Nobel Prize in 2002, for his discovery of cosmic x-ray sources. In 1962, while working as an astronomer at the private firm American Science and Engineering, he discovered Scorpius X-1, the first known source of x-rays from beyond our solar system. Two years later he discovered Cygnus X-1, the first object to be generally accepted as a black hole by most astronomers. He led the design and development of the Uhuru and Einstein X-Ray Observatories, and was the first director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, which oversaw the scientific operations of the Hubble space telescope.

Father: Antonio Giacconi (shopkeeper)
Mother: Elsa Canni Giacconi (math and physics teacher, div. 1940)
Wife: Mirella (high school sweetheart, translator)
Daughter: Guia
Daughter: Anna
Son: Marc (d. 1991)

    University: PhD Astrophysics, University of Milan (1954)
    Fellow: Research, Indiana University Bloomington (1956-58)
    Fellow: Cosmic Ray Laboratory, Princeton University (1958-59)
    Scholar: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Harvard University (1973-81)
    Professor: Astronomy, Harvard University (1973-82)
    Administrator: Space Telescope Science Institute (1981-92)
    Professor: Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University (1981-99)
    Professor: Physics and Astronomy, University of Munich (1991-99)
    Administrator: European Southern Observatory (1993-99)
    Professor: Research Professor, Johns Hopkins University (1999-)

    Fulbright 1956-58
    AAS Helen B. Warner Prize 1966
    NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement 1971
    NASA Distinguished Public Service Award 1972
    AAPT Richtmyer Memorial Award 1975
    Elliott Cresson Gold Medal of the Franklin Institute 1980
    NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal 1980
    Bruce Medal 1981
    Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics 1981
    NYAS Cressy Morrison Award 1982
    Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal 1982 (with Harrie Massey)
    Wolf Prize in Physics 1987 (with Herbert Friedman and Bruno Rossi)
    ICRA Marcel Grossmann Award 2000
    National Medal of Science 2003
    Nobel Prize for Physics 2002 (with Raymond Davis, Jr. and Masatoshi Koshiba)
    GAS Karl Schwarzschild Medal 2004
    Associated Universities, Inc. President (1999-2004)
    NASA Principal Investigator, Uhuru, Skylab, & Einstein projects (1960-81)
    American Science & Engineering X-ray Astronomer (1959-73)
    Member of the Board of American Science & Engineering (1966-73)
    Accademia dei Lincei
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Astronomical Society
    American Philosophical Society
    American Physical Society
    Astronomical Society of the Pacific
    Cosmos Club
    Federation of American Scientists Board of Sponsors
    Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science External Member
    National Academy of Sciences
    Royal Astronomical Society Foreign Member
    Italian Ancestry
    Naturalized US Citizen 1967
    Asteroid Namesake 3371 Giacconi

Author of books:
X-Ray Astronomy (1974, astrophysics)
The X-Ray Universe (1985, astrophysics)
Secrets of the Hoary Deep: A Personal History of Modern Astronomy (2008, memoir)


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