For someone who searches the vast frontiers of the universe trying to discover its boundaries, receiving an award here on Earth could seem almost mundane.

But John Bahcall, a professor in the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., who received the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Distinguished Public Service Medal on March 17, says he views the award as an exciting precursor to more astronomical discoveries. Bahcall says he is elated by the award, the agency's highest honor, and views it as a symbol of his work with both space- and ground-based astrophysical proj-ects, especially his contributions to the NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) Program.

For the past 20 years, Bahcall, 57, has been at the institute and is also currently president of the American Astronomical Society, a post that he accepted in 1989.

Bahcall was also given the medal for his vocal...

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