LYNDEN-BELL, DONALD / Astronomy / Researchers

International Center for Scientific Research




Professor of astrophysics at the University of Cambridge, Institute of Astronomy.

Lynden-Bell has contributed many incisive ideas to the dynamics of stars and galaxies, including violent relaxation, the gravothermal catastrophe in star clusters, and the basic amplifying mechanism for spiral structure. He was the first to emphasize also that massive black holes probably inhabit the centers of most large galaxies.

Research interests

black holes and jets in galactic nuclei; magnetohydrodynamics; relativity of inertia and the non-existence of absolute space; negative specific heat in astronomy, physics, and chemistry; galaxies; dark matter; dynamics and relativity; and exact n-body problems in classical and quantum mechanics.

Prizes and awards

American Astronomical Society, Henry Norris Russell Lectureship, 2000.
1998 Bruce Medalist
American Astronomical Society Division on Dynamical Astronomy, Dirk Brouwer Award, 1991.
Astronomische Gesellschaft, Karl Schwarzschild Medal, 1983.
National Academy of Sciences, John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science, 2000.
Royal Astronomical Society, Eddington Medal, 1984, presented by R. Hide, QJRAS 25, 3, 231 (1984).
Royal Astronomical Society, Gold Medal, 1984, QJRAS 34, 3, 273 (1993).


- Lynden-Bell, D. & R.M. Lynden-Bell, "Ghostly Streams from the Formation of the Galaxy's Halo," MNRAS 275, 429 (1995).
- Pichon, C. & D. Lynden-Bell, "Equilibria of Falt and Round Galactic Discs," MNRAS 282, 1143-58 (1996).

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