R. Brent Tully

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa astronomer R. Brent Tully is a co-winner of the 2014 Viktor Ambartsumian International Prize. Established in 2009 by the president of Armenia in commemoration of the great Armenian astrophysicist, it has been awarded every two years since 2010 to those who have made an important contribution in astronomy/astrophysics and related sciences.

The Special Astrophysical Observatory in Russia nominated Tully and his Russian collaborator, Professor Igor Karachentsev, “for their fundamental contribution in the cosmology of the Local Universe.”

They share the prize with Felix Aharonian of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences, which received nominations from national academies of sciences, universities and observatories in various countries.

The U.S. $500,000 prize will be shared, with Aharonian receiving $250,000, and Karachentsev and Tully each receiving $125,000.

This is the third major prize Tully has won in less than two months. In June, he was one of four recipients of the 2014 Gruber Foundation Cosmology Prize for his role in understanding the structure and evolution of the nearby universe, and he also received the Wempe Award given by the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam “in recognition of his groundbreaking research about the structure of galaxies and the large-scale structure of the cosmos.”

On the faculty of the Institute for Astronomy since 1975, Tully studies galaxies and their interrelationships in the cosmic web, with particular interest in the dark matter that holds these structures together. What has become known as the Tully-Fisher relation provides a way of measuring distances to galaxies, hence determining the size and age of the universe.

Read the UH Mānoa Institute for Astronomy news release for more information.

—By Louise Good