July 19, 2022
When Donald York was a student beginning his career in astronomy in the 1960s, it was very difficult to get enough time on a telescope to make observations.
“We were suffering from a deficit of data,” said York, the University of Chicago Horace B. Horton Professor Emeritus in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Enrico Fermi Institute.
What he envisioned instead was a comprehensive map of the universe.
More than half a century later, the American Astronomical Society has announced that it will present its 2022 George Van Biesbroeck Prize to York for his work to found and design the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey was the first very large telescope survey. It revolutionized access to data and built a tool for the professional astronomer and novice alike to explore a vast portion of the sky from their desktop. The American Astronomical Society calls it "one of the most important and transformational facilities in astronomy.”