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Rudolph Minkowski

Rudolph Minkowski (born Rudolf Leo Bernhard Minkowski /mɪŋˈkɔːfski, -ˈkɒf-/;[1] German: [mɪŋˈkɔfski]; May 28, 1895 – January 4, 1976) was a German-American astronomer.[2]

Rudolph Minkowski
Minkowski,Rudolph 1934 London.jpg
Born(1895-05-28)May 28, 1895
DiedJanuary 4, 1976(1976-01-04) (aged 80)
Known forsupernovae
AwardsBruce Medal in 1961
Scientific career
InstitutionsPalomar Observatory


Asteroids discovered: 1 [3]
1620 Geographos September 14, 1951

Minkowski was the son of Marie Johanna Siegel and physiologist Oskar Minkowski.[4][5] His uncle was Hermann Minkowski, a mathematician and one of Einstein's teachers in Zürich. Rudolph studied supernovae and, together with Walter Baade, divided them into two classes (Type I and Type II) based on their spectral characteristics. He and Baade also found optical counterparts to various radio sources.

He headed the National Geographic Society – Palomar Observatory Sky Survey, a photographic atlas of the entire northern sky (and down to declination -22°) up to an apparent magnitude of 22.[2]

Together with Albert George Wilson, he co-discovered the near-Earth Apollo asteroid 1620 Geographos in 1951[6], and he also discovered Planetary Nebula M2-9. He additionally discovered a correlation between the luminosity of early-type galaxies and their velocity dispersion[7], which was later quantified by Faber and Jackson. He won the Bruce Medal in 1961.[2] The lunar crater Minkowski is named after him and his uncle.


  • Minkowski, R (1960), "International Cooperative Efforts Directed Toward Optical Identification of Radio Sources", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (published Jan 1960), 46 (1), pp. 13–9, Bibcode:1960PNAS...46...13M, doi:10.1073/pnas.46.1.13, PMC 284999, PMID 16590587


  1. ^ "Minkowski". Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary.
  2. ^ a b c Kuhi, Leonard V. (March 1976). "Rudoph L. Minkowski". Physics Today. 29 (3): 78–80. doi:10.1063/1.3023389. Archived from the original on 2013-09-28.
  3. ^ "Minor Planet Discoverers (by number)". Minor Planet Center. 23 May 2016. Retrieved 22 June 2016.
  4. ^ Notable Scientists from 1900 to the Present: I–M
  5. ^ The Concise Dictionary of American Jewish Biography
  6. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). "(1620) Geographos". Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (1620) Geographos. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 128. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-29925-7_1621. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3.
  7. ^ Minkowski, R. (1962), Internal Dispersion of Velocities in Other Galaxies

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