Benjamin Baillaud: The Eighteenth Bruce Medalist
As a boy he won scholarships to a leading university, where he specialized in mathematical astronomy. He finished his career as a director of his country's national observatory, where he had worked as a young assistant before becoming director of a smaller observatory--and simultaneously a professor at a nearby university--far from the capital. He contributed significantly to the international Astrographic Catalogue or Carte du Ciel project. He was greatly concerned with timekeeping and pioneered in transmitting accurate time signals from the observatory to the nation via radio. He struggled to overcome the difficulties of running an observatory in a smoky and brightly lit metropolis, and he worked especially hard to keep the essential work going during the disruptions and staff losses caused by the First World War. Widely admired for his modesty, genial personality, integrity, and administrative ability, he was elected president of many organizations, including the International Astronomical Union. He had a long and happy marriage which produced eight children.