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American Translators Association Honors Bruce Popp

Monday, January 29, 2018 - 08:57

This announcement is adapted from an article in the ATA Chronicle:

Bruce PoppThe American Translators Association (ATA), the nation’s largest professional organization for translators and interpreters, announced that AAS member Bruce D. Popp is the recipient of the S. Edmund Berger Prize for Excellence in Scientific and Technical Translation. Bruce won for his translation from French into English of The Three-Body Problem and the Equations of Dynamics by Henri Poincaré (Springer, 2017). The Berger Prize is offered by the ATA and the American Foundation for Translation and Interpretation to recognize excellence in scientific and technical translation by an ATA member.

Jules Henri Poincaré wrote Sur le Problème des Trois Corps et les Équations de Dynamique in 1890 for mathematicians and astronomers interested in celestial mechanics and differential equations. Poincaré started work on this monograph to answer a question about the stability of the solar system. He sought to prove whether the positions and velocities of planets in the solar system could be represented mathematically (as time-series expansions) for all time. He showed that the state of the solar system cannot be predicted arbitrarily far into the future.

While the importance of this work has been widely understood, the fact that the original was written in French has meant that the full scope and brilliance of what Henri Poincaré did has been inaccessible to contemporary English-speaking readers. Popp’s translation of The Three-Body Problem and the Equations of Dynamics provides readers access to Poincaré’s seminal monograph, recognized as a classic in the study of dynamical systems.

“The prestigious S. Edmund Berger Award for Excellence in Scientific and Technical Translation is well-deserved recognition for the dedicated skill and talent that Bruce Popp demonstrated as a translator in completing this challenging project,” said ATA Past President David Rumsey. “Dr. Popp’s translation highlights the critical role that professional translators play in communicating highly complex concepts in the field of science and technology across language barriers. The fields of science and translation benefit as a result of his work.”

Bruce D. Popp is an ATA-certified French-into-English translator with a BA in physics from Cornell University and a PhD in astrophysics from Harvard University. He applies his love of astrophysics, mathematics, and French to understanding the work of Henri Poincaré.

Richard Tresch Fienberg
AAS Press Officer
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