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2017 Osterbrock Book Prize Winner - Thomas Hockey

Thomas Hockey Awarded the 2017 Donald E. Osterbrock Book Prize for the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

by Kenneth S. Rumstay

The Historical Astronomy Division is pleased to announce the award of its Donald E. Osterbrock Book Prize for 2017 to Thomas Hockey, Editor-in Chief of the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomer (2nd Edition). Dr. Hockey, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Northern Iowa, received his Ph. D. in Interdisciplinary Studies (Astronomy, History, and Philosophy) in 1988 from New Mexico State University. His research interests include the history of planetary astronomy (in light of the modern search for planets orbiting other stars), solar eclipses, comets, and archaeoastronomy.

The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers is a four-volume reference work containing approximately 1850 biographical sketches of astronomers, spanning antiquity to the modern era. The individual entries, provided by authors in forty countries, range in length from about 100 to 1500 words. The first (2007) edition was reviewed in the April 2008 issue of HAD News (#72). In his review Donald K. Yeomans said “After six years of effort, the 1341-page Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers has finally been published. It was worth the wait.” The second edition (grown to 2434 pages in length) added approximately 300 biographies, and updated many found in the earlier edition.

Many HAD members who recommended the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers for the Osterbrock Prize praised it as an exceptionally valuable reference work. The award also recognizes the seven editors who contributed enormous amounts of effort to completion of this monumental work: Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. Marché II, JoAnn Palmeri, and Daniel W.E. Green. Also included implicitly in the award are the 430 contributing authors. The award was presented on 2017 January 4 at the HAD meeting in Grapevine, TX.

The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers (2nd edition): Publisher’s description; Review