Kārlis Kaufmanis (February 21, 1910, Riga, Latvia – June 21, 2003, Clearwater, Florida) was a Latvian-American astronomer. He is noted for his theory, on which he delivered a public lecture more than a thousand times, that the Star of Bethlehem was a conjunction of the planets Jupiter and Saturn that took place in 7 BC. He was also the author of several textbooks on astronomy, mathematics, and cosmology.
He held positions at the University of Latvia (1936–40), the French Lyceum (1940–44), and the Esslinger Gymnasium in Germany (1945–48). He moved to Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota as an associate professor in 1949. He joined the University of Minnesota as a visiting lecturer in 1961 and became an associate professor in 1963. He held the rank of full professor from 1970 until his retirement in 1978.
From time to time the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota holds the Karlis Kaufmanis Public Lecture. Speakers have included Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of the dwarf planet Pluto, Carolyn Porco, noted for imaging work on the Voyager missions, and Michael E. Brown, discoverer of several dwarf planets in the Kuiper belt.
Notes and references
- "Astronomer Karlis Kaufmanis, 'Star of Bethlehem' Lecturer, Dies at 93". University of Minnesota. 7 July 2003. Retrieved 2012-04-14.