Chicago Astronomy Degree Recipients
Alumnus of the Day: Guido Munch, 1946
Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1946
Munch was born June 9, 1921 in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico.
Munch studied civil engineering and mathematics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, receiving his bachelor's degree in civil engineering and mathematics in 1939 and his master's degree in mathematics in 1943. He then went to the University of Chicago, where he was published in Astronomy and Astrophysics in 1946 ("Problems of radiative transfer in the theory of stellar atmospheres"). He then went to the Tacubaya Observatory of the University of Mexico, but returned to the University of Chicago in 1947 as an instructor, and became an assistant professor in 1949. There he worked at the Yerkes Observatory, and worked with astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar on radiative transfer in stars. He also worked with Gerhard Herzberg and William Wilson Morgan on astronomic spectroscopy. He moved to Caltech in 1951, becoming professor there and working at the Mount Wilson and Palomar observatories.
From 1977 to 1991, Munch was Director at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, in addition to serving as professor at the University of Heidelberg. He also worked at the joint German-Spanish Calar Alto Observatory, and at the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias in Tenerife (from 1992 to 1996).
Munch studied the theory of stellar atmospheres, stellar spectroscopy, interstellar matter, the spectroscopy of nebulae, the structure of galaxies, solar physics and planetology. He worked in both observation and theory.