University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Abigail and John Van Vleck Lectures

John N. Bahcall

Richard Black Professor of Natural Sciences
Institute for Advanced Study

Public Lecture:
"How does the Sun Shine?"
4:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 9, 2003
Room 150 Tate Laboratory of Physics
Reception following lecture in 216


"Solar Neutrinos"
4:00 p.m., Thursday, April 10, 2003
Room 150 Tate Laboratory of Physics

John N. Bahcall of the Institute for Advanced Study is the twenty-eighth Abigail and John Van Vleck Lecturer. He holds the Richard Black Professorship of Natural Sciences at the Institute as well as a visiting faculty/lecturer appointment with Princeton University. Professor Bahcall is a theoretical astrophysicist with particular expertise in the studies of solar neutrinos, models of the Galaxy, dark matter, atomic and nuclear physics applied to astronomical systems, stellar evolution, and quasar emission and absorption lines. Professor Bahcall was honored with the 1998 Presidential Medal of Science in recognition of his theoretical work on solar neutrinos and for his role in the development of the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA recognized his achievements with the 1992 Distinguished Public Service Medal citing his observations and leadership with the Hubble Telescope.

Professor Bahcall studied physics at the University of California, Berkeley receiving the A.B. degree in 1956. He continued his graduate work first with a M.S. degree from the University of Chicago in 1957. He then transferred to Harvard for his doctoral studies and was awarded the Ph.D. degree in 1961. Professor Bahcall spent eight years at CalTech (1962-70) prior to being appointed as Professor of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in 1971. While at CalTech (1964) Bahcall and Raymond Davis, Jr. proposed that neutrinos from the sun could be detected via a practical chlorine detector. In the subsequent three and a half decades, Bahcall has refined theoretical predictions and interpretations of data from solar neutrino detectors.

Professor Bahcall plays a major leadership role in determining the future of astrophysics research in the United States. This is evidenced by his chairmanship of the National Academy of Sciences Decade Survey Committee for Astronomy and Astrophysics in the 1990�s, which successfully set priorities for astrophysical research projects. Other contributions include the Chairmanship of the National Underground Science Laboratory Committee, 2001 and the U.S. National Committee of the International Astronomical Union, 1996-1998. He has served as chair for the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Neutrino Astrophysics, 1994-95 and Section Chair on Astronomy, 1980-83. Bahcall was past president of the American Astronomical Society (1990-92) and was a Councillor earlier (1978-81.) He participated in the Hubble Telescope Working Group as an at-large interdisciplinary sciences member for almost twenty years (1973-1992).

Professor Bahcall has been recognized for his achievements throughout his scientific career. Early in his career he was awarded a Sloan Foundation Fellowship, 1968-71. The American Physical Society named Bahcall the first Hans Bethe Prize recipient in 1998. National awards include the Warner (1970), and Russell (1999) Prizes from the American Astronomical Society and the Heineman Prize for Astrophysics (1994) jointly from the American Astronomical Society and the American Institute of Physics. Internationally he has been recognized by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Medal College de France, and the University of Helsinki. He holds Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Pennsylvania, Chicago, Notre Dame and Ohio State. Bahcall is the author or co-author of four books most recently Solar Neutrinos: The First Thirty Years, Addison-Wesley (1995) and Unsolved Problems in Astrophysics, Princeton University Press (1997).