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Adriaan Blaauw

Born: 12-Apr-1914
Birthplace: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died: 1-Dec-2010
Location of death: Groningen, Netherlands
Cause of death: unspecified

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

Nationality: Netherlands
Executive summary: Evolving galaxies

Dutch astronomer Adriaan Blaauw showed that the zeta Persei star cluster is "only" about 1.3 million years old, far younger than previously thought. His finding led to the now-accepted theory that stars are still forming in the Milky Way and presumably in other galaxies, and that galaxies are constantly evolving, rather than being static for billions of years after stars are formed. His areas of expertise included “runaway stars,” star clusters and formation, and the cosmic distance scale, and he wrote extensively about the history of the International Astronomical Union.

    University: University of Leiden
    Teacher: Groningen University (1938-45)
    University: PhD, Groningen University (1946)
    Scholar: Yerkes Observatory, University of Chicago (1947-48 and 1952-57)
    Professor: Astronomy, Groningen University (1957-70)
    Administrator: Director, European Southern Observatory (1970-74)
    Professor: Astronomy, University of Leiden (1975-81)
    Professor: Astronomy, Groningen University (1981-)

    Bruce Medal 1989
    International Astronomical Union President (1976-79)
    Astronomy & Astrophysics Board (1968-81)
    Asteroid Namesake 2145 Blaauw

Author of books:
Galactic Structure (1965, with Maarten Schmidt)
ESO's Early History: European Southern Observatory from Concept to Reality (1986)
History of the IAU: The Birth and First Half-Century of the International Astronomical Union (1994)


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