The Historical Astronomy Division (HAD) of the American Astronomical Society awarded the fourth LeRoy E. Doggett Prize for Historical Astronomy to Dr. Michael Hoskin. The Prize was for “his scholarship and high standards in editing and publishing that have significantly professionalized the history of astronomy.” The HAD presented Dr. Hoskin with the Doggett Prize and he delivered the Doggett Prize Address at the January 2004 HAD meeting in Atlanta.
Dr. Hoskin was the first Doggett Prize recipient to present his prize lecture not just to the HAD but to the entire AAS in a plenary session attended by about 750 astronomers.
Barbara Welther, who chaired the Doggett Prize Committee as the immediate Past-Chair of HAD, presented the prize. The following is excerpted from her remarks as published in HAD News #65–66:
Dr. Hoskin has long been renowned for both his scholarship and the high standards he has maintained in editing and publishing. Since 1969 he’s been a Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge, where he developed the archive for the papers of Sir Winston Churchill. In 1970 he founded the Journal for the History of Astronomy and has since served as its editor. The Journal, which is now in its 34th year, has helped to define the field of historical astronomy and give it a central focus. It was primarily for his lifetime work on JHA that a Minor Planet was named in his honor in 2001.
His recent books demonstrate his broad perspectives in the field. They include The Cambridge Concise History of Astronomy, and Tombs, Temples and Orientations: A New Perspective on Mediterranean Prehistory. The last volume, which summarizes many seasons of fieldwork around the Mediterranean basin, is a significant and original contribution to archaeoastronomy.
When he learned he was to be the fourth recipient of the Doggett Prize, he wrote: “The Prize is indeed a very great honour, and although it is the result of the initiative of the historians of a particular country, it is as yet the only prize in our field and this award to a non-American raises it to international status. This compliment...will provide a highlight to my career.”
Michael Hoskin is no stranger to the AAS. In 1986 he was honored as the Harlow Shapley Memorial Lecturer. He’s also a leading expert on William Herschel and has written broadly on the Herschel family and its achievements. Last spring he published The Herschel Partnership: As viewed by Caroline. This work, which contains a wide variety of previously untapped archival material, will be the definitive source for Caroline Herschel’s biography for many years to come.
For his Doggett Prize lecture, Professor Hoskin spoke about “The REAL Caroline Herschel.”
Dr. Hoskin is a Fellow and Past President of Churchill College, Cambridge and Emeritus Fellow of St. Edmund’s. From 1975–88 he was Head of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University. He received his M.A. from the University of London in 1952 and his Ph.D. from Cambridge in algebraic geometry in 1956. He has founded and edited three journals in the history of science