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July 16, 2004

 

excerpt from the Royal Society of Canada:
Citations of the 2004 New Fellows elected to the Academy of Science

 

HARRIS, William E.
Department of Physics and Astronomy, McMaster University
William E. Harris, a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster University, is the world’s leading expert in the study of globular star clusters in galaxies. His extensive investigations of the properties of individual globular clusters in our galaxy such as their ages, luminosities, metallicities, and their systemization in a web-based catalogue are among the most exacting and widely used studies in the field. Among the implications of these results for galaxy formation is the fact that metal-poor globular clusters formed at the same time throughout the entire halo of the galaxy. He developed methods at the world’s best telescopes for using globular cluster systems to accurately measure the cosmological distance scale. His vigorous exploration of globular cluster systems in a host of different types of galaxies has opened up an entire field of extragalactic research. This work is having a growing impact on our understanding of stellar populations and galaxy formation.