Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 239-240


Blaauw, Adriaan

BornAmsterdam, The Netherlands, 12 April 1914

DiedGroningen, The Netherlands, 1 December 2010

Blaauw, Adriaan. Courtesy of Adriaan Blaauw

Among many accomplishments, Blaauw is credited with two important ideas in the field of stellar dynamics: First, many clusters of hot, bright stars are unstable and currently dissipating and so must be very young; second, hot, massive stars with large velocities relative to the disk of the galaxy (runaway stars) might be former members of binary systems whose companions exploded as supernovae, leaving them to move off in a straight line at the speeds they formerly had as orbital speeds. Both contributed to the establishment within astronomy of the principle that star formation is an ongoing process, at a time when this was not widely understood.

Blaauw, the son of Cornelis Blaauw and Gesina Clasina Zwart, received his early education in Amsterdam, his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Leiden, and, in 1946, a Ph.D. (cum laude) from th ...

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