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1980

THE CHANT MEDAL CITATION FOR DAVID H. LEVY 1980

(With his winning of the Chant Medal, David Levy joins a select group. To my knowledge only two other members of the Kingston Centre have won major awards of the R.A.S.C. In 1963, Dr. Douglas was the winner of the Service Award, and in 1979 Warren Morrison was awarded the Ken Chilton Prize. In recognition of David's truly significant achievement, I [Leo Enright] wish to reprint here the citation which I prepared for the occasion and which Dr. Percy read when the award was presented at the Society Banquet on Saturday, June 28, 1980.)

A long-time member of the R.A.S.C. and currently a Life Member of the Kingston Centre, Mr. David H. Levy has been nominated for the Chant Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

For a considerable time, David has been an avid observer of variable stars and his current rate of observations makes him one of the most remarkable variable star observers anywhere. His regular consistent program of variable star observing has increased to the point where since last August he has been observing and recording variables at the rate of over 2000 per month. This is the continuation of a personal program that has extended over decades. David's observations have been submitted to the A.A.V.S.O., whose director, Janet Mattei, has paid tribute to both the number and the quality of his observations. His variable observing program spanning many years has covered many kinds of variable stars and one of his particular current interests is the very rapidly fluctuating Orion variables which few amateurs have observed as carefully as he has. David is now known to many astronomers throughout the continent as a regular contributor to Star and Sky magazine. His column on variable stars is sure to encourage many more amateurs to become involved in this special field. In the near future we can look forward to the publication of a book by David on these stars which many people regard as the most interesting of all. An observer par excellence, David has spent countless hours in comet hunting, nova searching, sunspot observing and recording. He has, as well, passed along to many others his enthusiasm for these programs. He has also observed all the Messier objects, and also all the planets of the solar system in a single night. Few lovers of astronomy can claim such an acquaintance with the night sky. It is little wonder that he very narrowly missed in the discovery of at least one nova.

Even though at present the aim is to mention the massive contribution to observational astronomy which David has made by his variable programs, those who know him can scarcely mention his work without thinking of his telescopes, that collection of "tools of the trade," which he has assembled over the years and which he so much enjoys using. It is a collection of well over 50 working telescopes including many that he made himself and some that are rare antiques. One of his homemade instruments was a prize winner at Stellafane last summer. Whether he is observing the stars of the endless night sky, accurately recording an observed variation of a tenth of a magnitude, presenting his ideas for a new telescope design, teaching a course in Basic Astronomy, or sharing his enthusiasm with a group of small children, David Levy presents a picture of an astronomer we are proud of and one to whom we are thrilled to award the Chant Medal.

References:
JRASC Vol.74, pp. 308-309
Regulus Jul-Aug 1980, page 2.

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