COMMENCEMENT 2000: Honorary Degree Recipients - University of Pennsylvania Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 27, 4/4/2000

Sketches of the Honorary Degree Recipients


John N. Bahcall

Dr. John N. Bahcall, Richard Black Professor of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, is one of the world's most distinguished astrophysicists. Dr. Bahcall is an expert on the elusive form of radiation known as neutrinos. Neutrinos have the potential to map the heavens in a new and unique way. They pass almost unhindered through vast amounts of matter-including the Earth-and so can escape from dense regions of the cosmos where light cannot penetrate. They also are undeflected by the magnetic fields that criss-cross the universe, and so can point straight back at their origin. Dr. Bahcall's work has included studies of solar models, neutrino oscillations, nuclear fusion reactions, and, most particularly, neutrinos from the sun. Not only is he a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Academia Europea, in 1993 he won the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal for his observational studies using the Hubble Space Telescope. In 1998, he was awarded the nation's highest science honor, the National Medal of Science, for his pioneering efforts in neutrino astrophysics and his contributions to the development and planning of the Hubble Space Telescope. Dr. Bahcall's brilliance and his dedication to his work distinguishes him as one of the truly great scientific minds of our time.

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