ANU’s Ken Freeman wins the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science

johnboy 1 November 2012 2

The Department of Science has the news that the ANU’s Professor Ken Freeman has won the 2012 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science:

In April 2010, an unusual party was held under the clear skies of the Namibian desert. It was an international science conference to celebrate the 70th birthday of Professor Ken Freeman, the Duffield Professor of Astronomy at the Australian National University’s Mt Stromlo Observatory, a man regarded internationally as Australia’s most renowned astronomer.

Among many other achievements, Ken is perhaps best known for putting “dark matter” on the galactic map. In 1970, he published a paper showing that what we see of galaxies – as stars, gas and dust – is only a small fraction of their mass. The rest is invisible, dark matter. It’s a finding which changed the course of astronomy. But that was only the beginning of his career.

More recently, in 2002, he became a founder of what today is one of the hottest fields of investigation in astronomy, galactic archaeology – determining the age and movement of stars in our own galaxy through analysing their chemical composition. The aim is to work out how galaxies were constructed. And the field has become a major driver in the commissioning of new ground and space-based telescopes.

Now, after nearly 50 years of shaping and changing the human view of galaxies and the Universe, Professor Ken Freeman has been awarded the 2012 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.

Congratulations to him!

ken freeman

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2 Responses to ANU’s Ken Freeman wins the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science
astrojax astrojax 1:35 pm 01 Nov 12

stellar news! well done, ken – where’s your nobel, then?

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 1:28 pm 01 Nov 12

That’s a beautiful profile piece.

Physics Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt said last night that a big part of why he moved to Australia was so he could work with Ken.

54 PhD students and 5 Hubble Fellowships! When Isaac Newton said “If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” he was talking about people like this guy.

Sometimes we lose sight of just how many amazing people we have in this little town of ours here.

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