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Series II: Astronomy
Series VIII: Lecture Notes
At a Glance
This collection is arranged into 12 series.
Correspondence, manuscripts, lectures, notes, and printed materials of Kevin H. Prendergast, a prominent astronomer who worked in the fields off dynamics of many-body systems, the rotation curves of galaxies, and X-ray binary systems.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
This collection has no restrictions.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Kevin H. Prendergast papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers processed Wei-Hwan Chiang 10/2005.
2010-02-24 Legacy finding aid created from Pro Cite.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Prendergast received his Ph.D. at Columbia in 1954 and then went to the University of Chicago, returning to Columbia as a professor in 1962. He chaired the Columbia astronomy department from 1978 to 1984, retiring in 2000 with a long trail of successful young theorists in his wake. Prendergast was an icon in the field of dynamics of many-body systems. He also was well known for a series of papers in the 1960s and 1970s, written with Geoffrey and Margaret Burbidge, on understanding the rotation curves of galaxies. Numerous theoretical studies of the structure of galaxies followed, and he was a pioneer in the study of X-ray binary systems. In addition to Prendergast's professional accomplishments, he was also a skilled pianist and an avid sailor. During his long career, Prendergast became famous for using yellow legal pads, on which he had scrawled analyses of many problems in astronomical dynamics. His classes were renowned for the exactitude of his standards and the high percentage of faculty in attendance. During one year, regularly attending faculty outnumbered students.