Hendrik Spruit wins Hale Prize for solar physics

The Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society has announced that in 2011 the award of its highest honor, the George Ellery Hale Prize for achievement in solar physics, will go to Hendrik Spruit, senior scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics. With this award, the SPD recognizes his "insightful and pioneering work on the structure of magnetic flux tubes and sunspots and on their interaction with the flow of energy in the solar convection zone."

Hendrik Spruit (Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics)
© H-A Arnolds, MPA

The prize recognises work which started with Spruit's thesis at the University of Utrecht. At the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics he has worked on X-ray binaries, gamma-ray bursts and magnetic fields in stars. Recently he has returned to solar physics with work on the structure of sunspots.

The AAS awards the prize annually to a scientist for outstanding contributions to the field of solar astronomy. It is named after the American astronomer George Ellery Hale (1868-1938), who discovered (in 1908) that sunspots are the seat of strong magnetic fields. He was also the driving force behind the construction of ever larger telescopes including the famous 200" telescope on Mount Palomar, until 1975 the world's largest telescope.

The award ceremony will take place in May at the spring meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Boston.