By Jenna Fattah, Bicentennial Intern, Class of 2019, History and Media Management, Bloomington
Known as the “Kepler of his time,” Daniel Kirkwood forever changed astronomy with his discovery of “Kirkwood Gaps” and his research on meteors during his time at Indiana University. In the same way that 17th century astronomer Johannes Kepler revolutionized astronomy with the his discovery of the laws of planetary motion and provided foundation for future scientists like Isaac Newton, Kirkwood’s research and findings became the foundation for future scientists’ discoveries.
During his 30 years at IU, Kirkwood published 98 articles and 2 books on astronomy; he began some of his research as early as 1845. Kirkwood made an international impact on the astronomy community, as well as an astronomical impact locally at Indiana University Bloomington. Kirkwood Avenue, Kirkwood Hall, and Kirkwood Observatory are all named in his honor and his theories are still taught today. Three days after Kirkwood's death, the IU Board of Trustees approved the creation of an astronomy department.
This timeline follows his life, achievements, and impact which is still felt over 120 years after his death.