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Mohler Prize

The Orren C. Mohler Prize was established by the Department of Astronomy in 1986 and is awarded for excellence in research in astronomy and astrophysics. Several former Mohler Prize winners have also received Nobel or Crafoord Prizes.

Orren Cuthbert Mohler (1908-1985) was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, and received his M.A. in 1930 and Ph.D. in 1933 from the University of Michigan. From 1933 to 1940, Mohler taught astronomy at Swarthmore College and worked as an astronomer at the Cook Observatory of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1940, Mohler became an astronomer at the McMath-Hulbert Observatory at Lake Angelus near Pontiac, Michigan, for the University of Michigan. He was awarded the Naval Ordnance Development Award for his contributions to military and development research. Mohler was director of the McMath-Hulbert Observatory (1961-1970), Chairman of the Department of Astronomy, and Director of the U-M Observatories (1962-1970).

Mohler’s research led to the design and construction of the first astronomical vacuum spectrograph. Mohler had a great interest in preserving the past. He placed the 1854 Tiede astronomical clock into safekeeping at the Bentley Historical Library when the Detroit Observatory was vacated and spent two years in the 1980s cleaning and polishing the meridian circle telescope to preserve it for future generations.

Past Recipients:

1986 Leo Goldberg

1987 Allan R. Sandage

1988 Edwin E. Salpeter

1989 Lawrence H. Aller

1991 Joseph H. Taylor

1992 Bohdan Paczyński

1994 Sandra M. Faber

2003 Geoffrey W. Marcy

2005 David N. Spergel

2007 MIchael S. Turner

2009 Charles C. Steidel

2011 Scott D. Tremaine

2012 Andrew C. Fabian

2013 Martha Haynes

2015 Sarah Seager

2016 Jocelyn Bell Burnell

2017 Rashid Sunyaev

2018 Julianne Dalcanton

2019 Marcia Rieke

2022 Fiona A. Harrison

2023 Ewine van Dishoeck