Frank K. Edmondson


Distinguished Alumni Service Award (2006)
B.A., 1933; M.A., 1934


Frank K. Edmondson, professor emeritus, was an educator and scientist who brought international acclaim and prestige to Indiana University through his teaching and achievements in the field of astronomy. While program director for astronomy at the National Science Foundation, he was instrumental in the establishment of Kitt Peak National Observatory and Cerro Tololo International Observatory in Chile. In 1964, the Republic of Chile decorated him with its Order of Merit for his role in the advancement of astronomy in that country.

He also was a leading proponent for the development of Sacramento Peak Observatory. He had a key role in establishing the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), an organization he served since 1957 in such capacities as director, president and historian. He is the author of a comprehensive history of AURA, published by Cambridge University Press. His studies of galactic kinematics and asteroids have received prominent recognition in American, British, and German astronomy journals.

In addition to teaching and chairing the IU Astronomy Department, he held long tenures as director of Kirkwood and Goethe Link observatories. Dedication to his field only served to enhance Edmondson's commitment to his students. The Brown Derby (1952) and Rocking Chair (1983) awards, presented by Sigma Delta Chi, attested to the respect and admiration of his students.