Texas' McDonald Observatory Leader Awarded NASA's Public Service Medal

Author: Rebecca Andrews

(The Scientist, Vol:5, #17, pg. 22, September 2, 1991) (Copyright, The Scientist, Inc.)

-------- Harlan Smith, director of the Mc-Donald Observatory at the University of Texas in Austin for more than 25 years, has been awarded NASA's Distinguished Public Service Medal. Smith was presented with the medal in a ceremony on July 17.

When Smith joined the university in 1963 as director of the observatory and chairman of the department of astronomy, the observatory was in serious need of refurbishing and the department had only four faculty members. Smith says that he agreed to join UT-Austin only if the university agreed to certain conditions. These included funding major renovations at the observatory, supporting the construction of a larger telescope (an 82-inch telescope had been built in 1938), and fostering the growth of the department.

Over the years, Smith...

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