William M. Kaula Photo

William M. Kaula

Born: May 19, 1926

Death: Apr 1, 2000

Birthplace: Sydney

Nationality: Australia

William M. Kaula

Date of Birth : May 19, 1926
Date of Death : Apr 1, 2000
Birth Place : Sydney

William M. Kaula was an Australian-born American geophysicist and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. Kaula was most notable for his contributions to geodesy, including using early earth satellites to produce gravity maps of Earth. He was a participant in several NASA missions, as a team leader on Apollos 15, 16 and 17. The National Academies Press called Kaula "the father of space-based geodesy". The Los Angeles Times called him "one of the leading planetary physicists of the last four decades". He was a recipient of Whitten Medal of the American Geophysical Union and of the Brouwer Award of the American Astronomical Society. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences for his scientific contributions without ever getting a doctorate, a pretty rare case. He did graduate from West Point, the top military school in the United States and received an M.S. degree from Ohio State University. Asteroid 5485 Kaula is named after him.

Also known as


  • William Mason Kaula

Awards Won


  • Guggenheim Fellowship for Natural Sciences, US & Canada
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