1998 Astronomical League Award - Dr. John Gott

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The 1998 Award: Dr. J. Richard Gott III</h2>
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<em><img align="right" alt="AL
Award" border="0" height="168" src="/al/awards/alaward/alaward.jpg" width="249" />(Right)</em> President Barry Beaman (right) presents the 1998 Astronomical League Award to Dr. J. Richard Gott, III.</p>
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Background and Education</h4>
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Dr. Gott became interested in astronomy in very early childhood. During high school, he served as Editor, Vice-President and President of the Louisville Junior Astronomical Society, a precocious organization that operated an observatory and 21 inch reflector, hosted three Great Lakes Regional conventions, produced eight professional astronomers and physicists, provided more than 40 public programs per year and featured three different members who won, in the space of just four years, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place honors in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search.</p>
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During his high school years, Dr. Gott&#39;s science fair projects won first place overall honors in both the 1964 and 1965 International Science &amp; Engineering Fairs and, in 1965, won second place honors in the prestigious Westinghouse Science Talent Search (for which he eventually received the first place scholarship).</p>
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Dr. Gott received a B.S. degree in mathematics, summa cum laude, from Harvard University in 1969 and received his doctorate in astrophysics from Princeton University in 1972. Dr. Gott was a post-doctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology from 1973 to 1974 and was a visiting fellow at Cambridge University in 1975. He returned to Princeton in 1976 and became a full Professor of Astrophysics there in 1987. On more than one occasion, students at Princeton have voted Dr. Gott the school&#39;s outstanding professor. Dr. Gott still conducts public programs in the Princeton area including special event public observations at Princeton&#39;s observatory.</p>
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Since 1986, Dr. Gott has served as Chairman of the Judges of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, a Science Service competition recognizing the most outstanding high school senior science students in America. He succeeded Nobel Laureate and multiple element discover, Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg, in that position.</p>
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League Support</h4>
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Dr. Gott attended his first League national convention in 1962 and has spoken at five League national conventions since then. Most recently, he spoke at Astrocon &#39;92 in Amherst, Massachusetts, and he will be a featured speaker at ALCON &#39;98 in French Lick, Indiana. He has also spoken at two Great Lakes Region conventions, chairing junior papers at the 1964 event.</p>
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Dr. Gott chaired the League&#39;s Junior Activities Committee from 1963 to 1965 and wrote and published the League&#39;s Junior Activities Manual in 1964. In 1964, Dr. Gott received the League&#39;s highest national award for young people, the Outstanding Junior Award. This national award program was renewed, with Dr. Gott&#39;s help, with the advent of NYAA in 1991.</p>
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In 1991, Dr. Gott assisted me in establishing the rules and structure for the National Young Astronomer Award -- including specific help in establishing the current judging and rank-averaging structure. Advising the use of Zipf&#39;s Law to average judges&#39; rankings, Dr. Gott saved the NYAA committee from a manifest injustice in the 1996 NYAA competition when, but for his advice, a candidate receiving 3 out of 4 first place votes would have failed to win the competition.</p>
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Dr. Gott has also continued his lifelong support of the Louisville Astronomical Society, speaking at LAS functions beginning in 1961 and, most recently, at a special public event hosted by the LAS in 1991 and at the LAS&#39; 60th anniversary celebration in 1993. Dr. Gott is an honorary LAS member and recipient of one of only three LAS Distinguished Achievement Awards given by the 64 year old society. His mother is a charter member of the LAS.</p>
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Scientific Achievements</h4>
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Dr. Gott was the first person to solve Einstein&#39;s field equations for the gravitational fields around cosmic strings and has done extensive research in support of the open universe model. He also performed extensive and widely-published research with then-graduate student, Changbom Park, into the large-scale structure of the universe. His layer diagrams of galaxy distributions in given regions of space are published in numerous books.</p>
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A theoretical astrophysicist, Dr. Gott wrote a paper for Nature magazine outlining the manner in which time travel might be theoretically possible in the vicinity of two passing cosmic strings. This research received wide acclaim including coverage in both Time and Discover magazines.</p>
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In 1975, Dr. Gott received the Astronomical Society of the Pacific&#39;s R. J. Trumpler Award in recognition of his outstanding doctoral thesis at Princeton. He was also an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow from 1977 to 1981.</p>
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And, in 1993, Dr. Gott published a paper entitled &quot;Implications of the Copernican Principle for Our Future Prospects&quot;, a brilliant mathematical exposition outlining how the past longevity of a system can be used to predict its future longevity within known degrees of mathematical certainty. The paper received international attention and was reported in major newspapers and national magazines in the United States.</p>
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In 1992 and 1993, Dr. Gott served as Chairman of the Hayden Planetarium Visitation Committee and advised the Planetarium on its recent and much-publicized renovations.</p>
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Dr. Gott is a biographee in Marquis&#39; Who&#39;s Who in America and Who&#39;s Who in Science and Technology. He was also selected in the first class of inductees into the Waggener High School Hall of Fame in 1996.</p>
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Summary.</h4>
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Dr. Gott is both a professional and an amateur astronomer and a League supporter ... and he excels at all three.</p>
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His interest in the League began in the early 1960s and is manifest to this day. His professional contributions to the science of astronomy have earned him a place among the elite theoreticians in the world of cosmology. And his extensive work for the benefit of students and the general public -- evidenced by his prolific public programs, his work with the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, his teaching, his support of the LAS and his work with the Hayden Planetarium -- prove his dedication to the advancement of public interest in astronomy and the advancement of amateur astronomy.</p>
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For all of these reasons Dr. Gott is deserves of this highest expression of League appreciation and recognition. We are happy to add him to our list of past Astronomical League Award winners.</p>