Sidney van den Bergh

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Sidney van den Bergh
Sidney van den Bergh

(1929-05-20) 20 May 1929 (age 94)
AwardsOrder of Canada

Sidney Van den Bergh, OC, FRS (born 20 May 1929) is a retired Dutch-Canadian astronomer.[1]

He showed an interest in science from an early age, learning to read with books on astronomy.[2] In addition to being interested in astronomy. He also liked geology and archeology.[2] His parents got him science books, a telescope, and a microscope, although they wished him to pursue a more practical career and only follow astronomy as a hobby.[2] He went to Leiden University in the Netherlands from 1947 to 1948. He then attended Princeton University on scholarship where he received his A.B. in 1950.[1][2] In December 1950, he was living in Columbus, Ohio and evidencing an interest in Astronomy.[3] He obtained an MSc from Ohio State University (1952) and a Dr. rer. nat. from the University of Göttingen (1956).[1]

He took a faculty position at Ohio State University from 1956 to 1958 before moving to Toronto in 1958 where he spent the first part of his career at the David Dunlap Observatory (DDO) of the University of Toronto.[1] At the DDO, he led innovations that included: expansion of the facilities, utilization of computers, and multicolor photometry.[1] While his areas of focus have included the moon and other parts of the Solar System, he is best known for his work in extragalactic astronomy in which he has published original findings and reviews of nebulae, star clusters, variable stars, supernovae and more recently, an update to the estimated age of the universe.[1] He discovered Andromeda II.[4]

The second part of his career began in 1978 in Victoria, British Columbia, at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory where he was appointed director in 1977 and took office in 1978, remaining in that position until 1986 when he semi-retired and took the new role of principal research officer.[1][5] He has served as president of the Canadian Astronomical Society and as vice-president of the International Astronomical Union from 1972 to 1982.[6]

Beginning in 1982, he started serving as chairman and president of the board of the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Corporation in Hawaii.[1]



Named after him


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k McNicholl, Martin K., Van den Bergh, Sidney, The Canadian Encyclopedia, Historica Foundation, retrieved 16 December 2008
  2. ^ a b c d e Profile: Sidney Van den Bergh, GCS Research Society, 2007, retrieved 17 December 2008
  3. ^ Van den Bergh, Sidney (5 January 1951), "Solar Distances", The New York Times, vol. 100, no. 33949, p. 20, ISSN 0362-4331
  4. ^ McConnachie, A. W.; Irwin, M. J.; Ferguson, A. M. N.; Ibata, R. A.; et al. (2005), "Distances and metallicities for 17 Local Group galaxies", Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 356 (4): 979–997, arXiv:astro-ph/0410489, Bibcode:2005MNRAS.356..979M, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2004.08514.x
  5. ^ "Illusion May Shed Light on Fate of the Cosmos", The New York Times, vol. 140, no. 48546, p. B10, 21 March 1991, ISSN 0362-4331
  6. ^ a b Canadian Asteroids, The Royal Astronomy Society of Canada, 22 July 2008, retrieved 19 January 2009
  7. ^ Belangrijke prijs voor Nederlandse astronoom (in Dutch),, 10 June 2014, retrieved 10 June 2014

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