Herschel Medal for Reinhard Genzel
At its “ordinary meeting” on 10 January 2014, the Royal Astronomical Society announced that Professor Reinhard Genzel of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, and the University of California, Berkeley, will receive the Herschel Medal in 2014 for his outstanding contributions to observational astrophysics. RAS President, Professor David Southwood, will present Genzel with the award during the UK national astronomy meeting in Portsmouth at the end of June.
The Herschel Medal is awarded for investigations of outstanding merit in observational astrophysics, and Genzel and his group have achieved many breakthroughs in both galactic and extragalactic astrophysics. The RAS states that “Genzel and his group made pioneering observations to map the motions of stars close to the Galactic centre, leading to firm evidence for the existence of a supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way and to an accurate estimate of its mass. Subsequent research by Genzel’s group has demonstrated the unusual mass-spectrum and geometry of stars at the centre of the Galaxy and to the discovery of infrared flares that are thought to arise from gas close to the inner accretion disc of the black hole.” In addition, “Genzel has made numerous contributions to our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution, where he has led the development and exploitation of near and far infrared spectroscopy and high resolution imaging.”
Professor Genzel has received many prizes and awards, including the Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation, the 2003 Balzan Prize for his work on infrared instrumentation, the 2008 Shaw Prize, and the Crafoord Prize in 2012.