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			(212) 854-5573					May 1, 1997

Columbia Ph.D. Wins Trumpler Award For Studies of Collisions Between Galaxies

John Hibbard, a 1995 Ph.D. in astrophysics from Columbia University, has won the Astronomical Society of the Pacific's annual Trumpler Award for his dissertation on galactic dynamics. The award is given to one recent Ph.D. each year whose research is considered unusually important to astronomy. The award consists of a plaque and a check for $500 and is to be presented June 29 at the Society's summer scientific meeting in Chicago. Dr. Hibbard, who came to Columbia after working as a member of the technical staff at Hughes Aircraft Missile Systems Group in Canoga Park, Calif., wrote his dissertation on galaxy mergers after conducting observations at the Very Large Array radio telescope in Socorro, N.M. He traced in considerable detail the location and motions of the gaseous components of these systems. His advisor was Jacqueline van Gorkom, professor of astronomy and a leading expert on the gas properties and dynamics of galaxies. "It is becoming evident that most galaxies experience one or more very violent interactions at some point in their lifetime, during which their size and shape is considerably altered and many of their stars are formed," Dr. Hibbard said. "It was very exciting to be able to study in detail such cosmologically important events taking place in nearby galaxies." "The results mean that, for the first time, work on galaxy interactions has a quantitative description against which to test models," said David J. Helfand, professor and chairman of astronomy at Columbia, who nominated Dr. Hibbard for the award. "I have no doubt that John's thesis will be regarded 10 years from now as a classic piece of work that inaugurated a new era in this field." Dr. Hibbard currently holds a Hubble Fellowship at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy. In September, he will take up a position as the Jansky Fellow at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. This document is available at 4.18.97 19,094