SwRI researcher to receive Brouwer Award

Press Release From: Southwest Research Institute
Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2003

The Division on Dynamical Astronomy of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) has awarded its prestigious Brouwer Award to Dr. William R. Ward, an Institute scientist in the Space Studies Department at Southwest Research Institute. Ward was selected this month as the 2004 recipient of the award, named in honor of Dirk Brouwer, who taught a generation of celestial mechanicians and authored the text, Methods of Celestial Mechanics.

The Brouwer Award recognizes outstanding lifetime achievements in the field of dynamical astronomy, including celestial mechanics, astrometry, geophysics, stellar systems, and galactic and extra-galactic dynamics. Ward was recognized for his many contributions to the field of dynamical astronomy over the past 30 years. As a theoretician, he has contributed fundamental insights to humankind's understanding of planetesimal formation, the origin and dynamical evolution of the moon, planet migration, planetary obliquity mechanics and planetary formation dynamics.

Ward is particularly known for discovering numerous aspects of the complex and subtle dynamical interaction between planetary embryos and gaseous and particle disks, for helping to give birth to the giant impact theory of lunar formation and for discovering the shifts in Mars's polar axis that drive strong climate variation over time.

"Bill's contribution to dynamical astronomy and planetary science has been historic," says Dr. S. Alan Stern, director of the SwRI Space Studies Department. "Even so, knowing Bill's talent, creativity and drive, I am sure the record of his achievement is still far from fully written. We are very proud of the role model he is, both within his field and within the Institute's space efforts."

"The caliber of effort and quality Bill applies to his research efforts is inspiring," says Dr. James L. Burch, vice president of the Space Science and Engineering Division. "His achievements are certainly deserving of this award."

Ward holds bachelor's degrees in mathematics and physics from the University of Missouri (Kansas City) and a doctorate in planetary sciences from the California Institute of Technology. He joined SwRI in 1998. He will receive the Brouwer Award and a cash honorarium from the AAS at the May 2004 annual meeting of the Division on Dynamical Astronomy in Cannes, France, where he will also give the Brouwer Award Lecture.

Editors: A color photograph of Ward is available at

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