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Alar Toomre

Science Talent Search – 1953

About Alar Toomre

Astronomer and mathematician Alar Toomre is known for combining insights from applied mathematics and astronomy to simulate and explain the dynamics of interacting galaxies. He competed in STS in 1953, before studying physics and aeronautics at MIT and the University of Manchester. Toomre joined the MIT mathematics faculty in 1963 and continued to teach there until his retirement. His work has been recognized with a MacArthur Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

In the News: Magellanic Clouds: Gateway to the Cosmos

In the 1960s, Toomre and a colleague at MIT hypothesized that the Magellanic Clouds, two satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, passed close enough to our galaxy to distort its shape 500 million years ago. This Science News article discusses their research on the subject.

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Toomre’s family immigrated to the United States from Estonia in 1949, just four years before he competed in STS.

Notable Alumni - Alar Toomre
MIT Department of Mathematics