Press Release

Astronomer Nick Scoville Honored with Bruce Gold Medal

By SpaceRef Editor
July 10, 2017
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The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) is proud to award the 2017 Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal to Dr. Nick Scoville, the Francis L. Moseley Professor of Astronomy (Emeritus) at the California Institute of Technology and former director of Caltech’s Owens Valley Radio Observatory. He is a pioneer in millimeter-wave astronomy and a leading expert in studies of galaxy evolution, the nature of the dense interstellar molecular gas in galaxies, and star formation.

Prof. Scoville spearheaded and led the Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS), a landmark project using data from virtually every large space- and ground-based telescope to study the large-scale structure of the universe and the evolution of galaxies over a vast range of cosmic distance. COSMOS engages well over 100 astronomers in over a dozen countries, investigating a single patch of sky about 16 times the size of the full Moon. Since 2004 — with a large allocation of observing time on the Hubble Space Telescope — COSMOS has detected over a million galaxies spanning cosmic time back to the first billion years of the universe. Prof. Scoville has recently used the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) to investigate the evolution of star formation in the early universe going back 2/3 of the time to the Big Bang using a sample of 700 galaxies in the COSMOS field. He has also led the highest resolution ALMA imaging of the nearby colliding starburst galaxy Arp 220.

Author of more than 600 publications in observational and theoretical astrophysics, Scoville’s awards and recognitions include being chosen to present the 50th Jansky Lecture, receiving the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, and being the recipient of the Aaronson Award from the University of Arizona.

The Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal was established by Catherine Wolfe Bruce, an American philanthropist and patroness of astronomy. It is given annually by the ASP to a professional astronomer in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding achievement and contributions to astrophysics research. It was first awarded in 1898 to Simon Newcomb. Previous recipients of the Bruce Medal include Giovanni V. Schiaparelli (1902), Edwin Hubble (1938), Fred Hoyle (1970), and Vera Rubin (2003). Historian of astronomy Joseph S. Tenn has provided a history of the medal, with biographies and links to further information about all 110 medalists, at

Since its humble beginnings over 125 years ago, the ASP has evolved into one of the most recognized and well-respected nonprofit astronomy organizations in the country. Boasting diverse national programs endorsed by NASA and the NSF, publications, and awards designed to serve, empower, and recognize professional and amateur astronomers, as well as formal and informal educators, the ASP is unique in its mission to foster science literacy and share the excitement of exploration and discovery through astronomy. The ASP is headquartered in the Ingleside neighborhood of San Francisco, and is financially supported by donations, grants, corporate sponsorships, subscriptions, member dues, and retail sales.

SpaceRef staff editor.