Adriaan Blaauw (1914-2010) passed away on the 1st December 2010. Amongst Adriaan's many contributions to astronomy over a long career, he served as Chair of the Scientific Programme Selection Committee for Hipparcos, between 1981-90, supervising the scientific priorities of proposals competing for including stars within the Hipparcos observing list. He has always maintained a strong interest in the use of data from Hipparcos, for instance the observations of OB associations confirming some of his insights into the star formation process made more than half a century ago. Adriaan was Honorary Chair of the Scientific Organising Committee of the Gaia Symposium which was held in Paris in October 2004.
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific's award of the Bruce Medal to Adriaan Blaauw in 1989, for lifetime contributions to astronomy, included the following citation:
Educated at the Universities of Leiden and Groningen in the Netherlands, Adriaan Blaauw has worked at Leiden, Yerkes, and Groningen, where he rebuilt the Kapteyn Astronomical Laboratory into a major research center concentrating on galactic structure. His scientific contributions have concerned the motions of star clusters and associations, "runaway stars", star formation, and the determination of the cosmic distance scale. Blaauw has been a leader in international collaborations: construction of the European Southern Observatory in Chile, the merger of several European astronomical journals into Astronomy and Astrophysics, and development of the astrometric satellite Hipparcos. In his retirement he has written several historical articles and books, mostly on these international organizations and collaborations.
Obituaries can be found at the Leiden Observatory and ESO web sites.
[Published: 12/04/2004 | Updated: 10/12/2010]