University of Hawai'i
(808) 956-8856 Telephone
For Immediate Release:
August 25, 2000
Contact: Jim Manke - 956-6106
|UHM astronomer receives international award|
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) has selected David Sanders as the recipient of the Humbolt Research Award for Senior US Scientists. Sanders is a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and an astronomer for the Institute for Astronomy. He is also the Institute's associate director for research support.
"I am obviously honored to have been nominated and selected for the Senior Award," said Sanders. As part of the award, Sanders has been invited to conduct a program of research in Germany as a Humboldt Professor. He plans to spend at least two months a year at the Max-Planck-Institut furer Extraterrestrische Physik (MPE) in Garching, Germany through 2002. "I am delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with the MPE group in Garching," Sanders said, "specifically in preparing research proposals for using NASA's soon to be launched Space Infrared Telescope Facility." The award also includes a monetary prize.
The AvH granted Sanders the senior award in recognition of his accomplishments in research and teaching. The AvH foundation grants approximately 50 new Senior Research Awards annually to international researchers in all fields of science.
Sanders is known internationally for working with data from the Infrared Astronomical Satellite to unravel the origin of quasars. He began this study at the California Institute of Technology in the late 80s. Since then, in collaboration with his graduate students and post-doctorate researchers at the Institute for Astronomy, Sanders has expanded on his work in Hawaii using the ground-based telescopes on Mauna Kea.
Sanders has found in his research that quasars are most likely formed when two giant, gas-rich galaxies merge. "[This] is an extremely hot topic in extragalactic research, and of great interest to the general public," said Sanders. "Our own Milky Way galaxy and its nearest big neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy will one day -- some 5 billion years in the future -- merge. [This will] build and fuel a massive black hole in their common merger nucleus. Accretion of matter falling onto the black hole could be sufficient to provide the enormous power that is characteristic of quasars."
Sanders received his bachelor of science degree in physics from the University
of Virginia in 1970, his master of science in physics from Cornell in 1972
and his Ph.D. in astrophysics from State University of New York at Stony
Brook in 1981.