Professor Ken Freeman from The Australian National University has been awarded the American Astronomical Society’s top prize.
The prestigious Henry Norris Russell Lectureship was awarded to Professor Freeman in recognition of a lifetime of seminal contributions to astronomy, including his work on the structure and dynamics of our Galaxy and other galaxies.
“I feel very honoured to receive this prize for lifetime achievement from the American Astronomical Society,” Professor Freeman, who has worked in the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at ANU for the past 40 years, said.
“Many of my old friends, mentors and colleagues are on the list of past recipients of this prize, and it is a great pleasure to be listed with them.”
ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young congratulated Professor Freeman on the award.
“Professor Freeman has played a pivotal role in directing the course of astrophysical study both in Australia and internationally. He is a deserving recipient of this prestigious award and on behalf of the entire ANU community, I give him our warmest congratulations.”
Director of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at ANU, Professor Matthew Colless, said, “Professor Freeman’s discoveries and insights have had enormous impact in several areas of astronomy over four decades. This prestigious lifetime achievement award recognises Ken’s place in the firmament of world astronomy.”
The American Astronomical Society said of Professor Freeman, “Through his many PhD students and his generous interactions with countless colleagues, his influence on galactic and extragalactic astronomy has extended far beyond his own research.”
The prize goes back to 1946, when it was won by Henry Norris, one of America’s most famous astronomers. Around 1910, he and Ejnar Hertzsprung created the famous Herzsprung-Russell diagram. It shows the relationship between the colours and brightnesses of stars, and is one of the most important diagrams in astrophysics.
Professor Freeman was the recipient of Australia’s most prestigious science award, the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, last year.