Robert Williams, Recipient of the 2016 Karl Schwarzschild Medal
The German Astronomical Society (AG) has announced that the most prestigious prize in Germany in the field of astronomy and astrophysics, the Karl Schwarzschild Medal, will be awarded this year to Robert Williams of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland. In Robert Williams the AG honors not only an outstanding scientist, but also a man with a dedication to scientific training and astronomical outreach. His name is inseparably linked to the most celebrated observation target of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST): the famous Hubble Deep Field (HDF).
Robert Williams studied and worked at the Universities of California and Wisconsin, before being appointed professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson (1965-1983). Among others, Williams' later positions included a one-year stay in Germany at the headquarters of the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Garching, near Munich. Between 1985 and 1993, Williams directed the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, after which he was appointed for a five-year term as director of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), the institute responsible for operating the Hubble Space Telescope. He served as president of the International Astronomical Union from 2009-2012, and is currently an STScI astronomer emeritus and an adjunct professor at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
Williams is the principal investigator for the Hubble Deep Field – one of humankind's deepest, most detailed visible-light views of the universe. In addition to distant galaxies, his science interests are novae, spectroscopy, and emission nebulae.
The German Astronomical Society will award the Karl Schwarzschild Medal, whose previous recipients include five Nobel laureates, to Robert Williams on September 13, 2016, during the opening ceremony of the annual conference of the AG in Bochum, Germany. The award is named after the German physicist and astronomer Karl Schwarzschild (1863-1916), one of the pioneers of modern astrophysics.