Paul Wild (Swiss astronomer)
Paul Wild at University of Bern in 2006
5 October 1925|
|Died||2 July 2014
|Alma mater||ETH Zürich|
|Known for||discoveries of comets and asteroids|
Paul Wild (German: [ˈvɪlt]; 5 October 1925 – 2 July 2014) was a Swiss astronomer and director of the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern, who discovered numerous comets, asteroids and supernovae.
Wild was born on 5 October 1925 in the village of Wädenswil near Zürich, Switzerland. From 1944 through 1950, he studied mathematics and physics at the ETH Zurich. Thereafter, he worked at the California Institute of Technology where he researched galaxies and supernovas under the leadership of countryman Fritz Zwicky from 1951 through 1955.
Professor Wild became director of the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern in 1980, and remained in this position until 1991. He died on 2 July 2014 at the age of 88 in Bern.
- 4 periodic comets: 63P/Wild, 81P/Wild, 86P/Wild and 116P/Wild
- 3 parabolic comets: C/1957 U1, C/1967 C2 and C/1968 U1
- The Apollo asteroid 1866 Sisyphus and the two Amor asteroids 2368 Beltrovata and 3552 Don Quixote
- 41 supernovae, as well as 8 co-discoveries. His first discovered supernova was SN 1954A, while his most recent is SN 1994M.
The best known discovery of a comet occurred on January 6, 1978. This Jupiter-family comet was designated 1978 XI, P/WILD 2 or 81P/Wild. WILD 2 was chosen by NASA for its Stardust mission launched in 1999. The stardust spacecraft flew through the comet’s trail and collected samples of the tail’s dust. After the return of the spacecraft to earth, analysis of the dust particles by different researcher provided new insights about the evolution of the solar system. Organic compounds such as glycine, a fundamental chemical building block of life, were found on a comet for the first time. In addition, evidence of the presence of liquid water was detected.
List of discovered asteroids
- Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (1941) Wild. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 156. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3. Retrieved July 2016.
- "Ein Stern ist erloschen" [A shining star has fallen] (in German). Der Bund. July 30, 2014. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
- Lecture by Paul Wild about Fritz Zwicky, his mentor at Caltech
- "History of the Zmmerwald Observatory". University of Bern. Retrieved July 2016.
- "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: C/1957 U1 (Latyshev-Wild-Burnham)". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved July 2016.
- "Minor Planet Discoverers (by number)". Minor Planet Center. 23 May 2016. Retrieved June 2016.