Asteroid named after Western's first Geography professor, Edward Pleva

June 30, 2016

He founded the Department of Geography and has a teaching award named in his honour. Now Edward Pleva lives on in the heavens, in the form of an asteroid at least.

The International Astronomical Union accepted a submission by Robert and Peter Jedicke to rename asteroid number 21367 Edwardpleva, in honour of the long-serving Western University professor.

Pleva was Western’s first geography teacher, in 1938. He was head of the Department of Geography from the time it was established in 1948 until 1968.

Pleva was well regarded for his teaching ability, receiving numerous teaching awards. He is particularly remembered for his contribution to the development of modern geographical education in Canada, including as editor of The Canadian Oxford School Atlas. In 1987, the University Awards for Excellence in Teaching were renamed in the Edward G. Pleva Award for Excellence in Teaching in his honour. Edward Pleva passed away in 2008.

“I'm a Western grad from the 1970s, and I knew Pleva's reputation as an outstanding teacher and geographer,” said Peter Jedicke. “For me, an asteroid name has a double appeal, because it promotes the person who is honoured by the name but it also promotes astronomy in general.” 

Asteroid 21367 Edwardpleva was discovered on June 2, 1997, and it one of the many asteroids in the belt located between Mars and Jupiter, with an orbit around the sun of just more than five years.

Asteroids are assigned names by a committee of the International Astronomical Union, based on the suggestions of the original discoverers. Once accepted, the name is published in the Minor Planet Circulars. The Jedicke brothers were featured in the Alumni Gazette for their efforts to name other asteroids after well-known Western University academics and sites.