Astronomer Receives Lifetime Service Award

Donald York, the Horace B. Horton Professor Emeritus in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, won this year’s Royal Astronomical Society Service Award for his lifetime contribution to astronomy. According to the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), the award honors “individuals, who through outstanding or exceptional work, have promoted, facilitated or encouraged the sciences of astronomy or geophysics and developed their role nationally or internationally.”

Professor York received the award for his role as the Founding Director of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), a survey that has created some of the most detailed three-dimensional maps of the Universe. “Professor Donald York was a key figure in the conception, design, construction, and initial operation of one of the most successfully astronomical facilities of the 21st Century,” the RAS said in its announcement. “With its first ever digital image of the entire northern high galactic latitude sky, homogenously and painstakingly calibrated in a novel photometric system, plus millions of homogenously obtained spectra, SDSS has touched every subfield of astronomy.”

“What a well-deserved recognition of Professor York’s work,” said Angela V. Olinto, Dean of the Physical Sciences Division. “The SDSS project has revolutionized how astronomy is done by systematically scanning a very large portion of the sky to create the most detailed optical images. It will continue to have an impact on the field for years to come.” 

Read the full announcement.