Herget taught astronomy at the University of Cincinnati. He was a pioneer in the use of machine methods, and eventually digital computers, in the solving of scientific and specifically astronomical problems (for example, in the calculation of ephemeris tables for minor planets). The asteroid 1751 Herget is named in his honour.
During World War II he applied these same talents to the war effort, helping to locate U-boats by means of the application of spherical trigonometry.
Herget established the Minor Planet Center at the university after the war in 1947. He was also named director of the Cincinnati Observatory. The Minor Planet Center was eventually relocated in 1978 to the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where it still operates.
Publication of discovery circumstances
In the 1950s and 1960s, Paul Herget compiled a large number of naming citations for minor planets, giving the discovery circumstances as well as background information on the name's origin and on the involved astronomers. His collected work is known as The Names of the Minor Planets and was published by the Cincinnati Observatory in 1955 and 1968. The last publication contains details of the discovery and naming until 1943, and spans from the first discovered minor planet, 1 Ceres, up to number 1564, 1564 Srbija. Herget's discovery circumstances were later incorporated into the Dictionary of Minor Planet Names, which was and still is prepared by astronomer Lutz Schmadel on behalf of IAU's commission 20. In this work, citations that origin from Herget's original compilation are marked with the letter "H" and the corresponding page number.
- Seidelmann, P. K. (January 1982). "Paul Herget". Physics Today. 35 (1): 86–87. Bibcode:1982PhT....35a..86S. doi:10.1063/1.2890023.
- Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (1751) Herget. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 139. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
- Schmadel, Lutz D. (1997). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – Introduction, Source of Information. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 16. ISBN 978-3-662-06617-1. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
- The Names of the Minor Planets, Paul Herget, 1968, OCLC 224288991
- Paul Herget at Columbia University Computing History
- Lecture by Paul Herget on the history of the Cincinnati Observatory
- Paul Herget 1908 - 1981. A Biographical Memoir by Donald E. Ostertbrock and P. Kenneth Seidelmann National Academy of Sciences)
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