Grants, Prizes, and Awards

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To foster excellence, the Society awards 14 prizes for outstanding contributions to astronomy.

Henry Norris Russell Lectureship - lifetime achievement
Newton Lacy Pierce Prize in Astronomy - early career, observational
Helen B. Warner Prize for Astronomy - early career, observational or theoretical
Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize - especially innovative research
Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation - instrumentation
Lancelot M. Berkeley - New York Community Trust Prize for Meritorious Work in Astronomy - recent meritorious work.
Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics - mid-career
George Van Biesbroeck Prize - extraordinary service
Education Prize - contribution to education
Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy - distinguished contribution
Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award - astronomy writing for an academic audience
Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award - exemplary research
Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Awards - exemplary research
Rodger Doxsey Travel Prizes - dissertation presentations at AAS meetings

With the exception of the student awards, AAS prize nominations are due to the AAS Secretary's Office by 30 June each year. Electric submission to aassec@aas.org is encouraged. ALL Society Members may submit nominations. A prize nomination form is published each year in the August AAS Newsletter and is posted online in the Members Only area.

Read the short descriptions and recipient lists, elsewhere in this document, to verify eligibility. A complete nomination must include:

  1. A letter of nomination outlining as concretely as possible the major scientific results that the candidate has produced and what their subsequent impact has been.
  2. A vita and bibliography.
  3. Abstracts of three illustrative publications.
  4. At least two, but not more than three, supporting letters in addition to the basic letter of nomination. Supporting letters should also outline the candidate's major scientific results and their impact.
  5. For the Cannon Award, a research plan is to be submitted by the nominee. This plan should be no more than three pages and describe her anticipated course of work for the next five years. The plan should be broadly accessible to astronomers with a range of scientific interests.

The Divisions award prizes for excellence in their fields of astronomy.

Harold Masursky Meritorious Service Award Division for Planetary Science
Gerard P. Kuiper Prize Division for Planetary Sciences
Harold C. Urey Prize Division for Planetary Sciences
Carl Sagan Medal Division for Planetary Sciences
Dirk Brouwer Award Division on Dynamical Astronomy
Bruno Rossi Prize High Energy Astrophysics Division
David N. Schramm Prize High Energy Astrophysics Division
LeRoy E. Doggett Prize Historical Astronomy Division
George Ellery Hale Prize Solar Physics Division
Karen Harvey Prize Solar Physics Division

Link to AAS Divisions


Additional awards are given in conjunction with other scientific organizations.

Award for Public Service to Science - AMS and APS

An education prize was awarded from 1992 - 1996, then discontinued. A new prize with a different name was established in 2000.

Annenberg Foundation Prize


Henry Norris Russell Lectureship

The Russell Lecturer is normally to be chosen annually on the basis of a lifetime of eminence in astronomical research.

The award includes a suitably engraved scroll, an invitation to deliver a lecture dealing with a broad astronomical field at a meeting designated by the Council, travel expenses to the meeting at which the Lecture is given, and ten free pages for publications of the Lecture in a Society journal. The publication of the Lecture shall be arranged as agreeable to the Lecturer and the Council.

Year Recipient Lecture Abstract Journal Article
2010 Margaret J. Geller    
2009 George W. Preston    
2008 Rashid Sunyaev    
2007 David Lambert    
2006 Bohdan Paczynski    
2005 James E. Gunn    
2004 Martin J. Rees 2004AAS...205.8001R  
2003 George W. Wetherill    
2002 George Wallerstein 2002AAS...201.6401W  
2001 Wallace L. W. Sargent 2001AAS...199.3201S  
2000 Donald Lynden-Bell 2000AAS...197.3501L  
1999 John N. Bahcall 1999AAS...194.2701B  
1998 Charles H. Townes 1998AAS...193.2401T  
1997 Alastair G. W. Cameron 1997AAS...190.1501C  
1996 Gerry Neugebauer 1996AAS...189.2601N  
1995 Robert P. Kraft    
1994 Vera C. Rubin    
1993 P. James E. Peebles    
1992 Lawrence H. Aller    
1991 Donald E. Osterbrock    
1990 Sidney van den Bergh    
1989 Icko Iben, Jr.    
1988 Gerard de Vaucouleurs    
1987 Fred L. Whipple    
1986 Albert E. Whitford    
1985 Olin J. Eggen    
1984 E. Margaret Burbidge    
1983 Herbert Friedman    
1982 Bart J. Bok    
1981 Riccardo Giacconi    
1980 Jeremiah P. Ostriker    
1979 Peter Goldreich    
1978 Maarten Schmidt    
1977 Olin C. Wilson    
1976 Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin    
1975 George H. Herbig    
1974 Edwin Salpeter    
1973 Leo Goldberg    
1972 Allan R. Sandage    
1971 Fred Hoyle    
1970 Jesse L. Greenstein    
1969 Eugene N. Parker    
1968 John G. Bolton    
1967 O. Neugebauer    
1966 Richard Tousey    
1965 B.G. Stromgren    
1964 I.S. Bowen    
1963 William A. Fowler    
1962 Grote Reber    
1961 W.W. Morgan    
1960 Martin Schwarzschild    
1959 Gerard P. Kuiper    
1958 Walter Baade    
1957 Otto Struve    
1956 Joel Stebbins    
1955 Paul Merrill    
1954 omitted    
1953 Lyman Spitzer, Jr.    
1953 Enrico Fermi    
1952 omitted    
1951 Jan H. Oort    
1950 Harlow Shapley    
1949 S. Chandrasekhar    
1948 omitted    
1947 Walter S. Adams    
1946 Henry N. Russell    

Top of Page | Prize Committee | Nomination Instructions

Newton Lacy Pierce Prize in Astronomy

The Pierce Prize is normally awarded annually for outstanding achievement, over the past five years, in observational astronomical research based on measurements of radiation from an astronomical object. It is given to an astronomer who has not attained 36 years of age in the year designated for the award. The recipient shall be a resident of North America (including Hawaii and Puerto Rico) or a member of a North American institution, stationed abroad.

The prize shall be a cash award of an amount established by the Council. The prize recipient shall be invited to present a paper on the subject for which the prize was granted at a meeting designated by the Council.

No individual candidate is eligible for both the Warner and Pierce Prizes.

Year Recipient
2010 Tommaso Treu
2009 Joshua Bloom
2008 Lisa J. Kewley
2007 Omitted
2006 Bryan M. Gaensler
2005 Andrew Blain
2004 Niel Brandt
2003 Xiaohui Fan
2002 Amy Barger
2001 Kenneth R. Sembach
2000 Kirpal Nandra
1999 Dennis F. Zaritsky
1998 Andrea M. Ghez
1997 Alyssa A. Goodman
1996 Michael Strauss
1995 Andrew McWilliam
1994 omitted
1993 Arlin P.S. Crotts
1992 Alexei Filippenko
1991 Kenneth Libbrecht
1990 Kristen Sellgren
1989 Harriet L. Dinerstein
1988 Sallie L. Baliunas
1987 Donald E. Winget
1986 Reinhard Genzel
1985 Richard G. Kron
1984 Marc Aaronson, Jeremy R. Mould
1983 Alan Dressler
1982 Marc Davis
1981 Bruce Margon
1980 Jack Baldwin
1979 D. Harper
1978 James M. Moran, Jr.
1977 Donald N.B. Hall
1976 James Roger Angel
1975 Eric Becklin
1974 Edwin M. Kellogg

Top of Page | Prize Committee | Nomination Instructions

Helen B. Warner Prize for Astronomy

The Warner Prize is normally awarded annually for a significant contribution to observational or theoretical astronomy during the five years preceding the award. It is given to an astronomer who has not attained 36 years of age in the year designated for the award or must be within eight years of receipt of their Ph.D. degree. The recipient shall be a resident of North America (including Hawaii and Puerto Rico) or a member of a North American institution, stationed abroad.

The prize shall be a cash award of an amount established by the Council. The prize recipient shall be invited to present a paper on the subject for which the prize was granted at a meeting designated by the Council.

No individual candidate is eligible for both the Warner and Pierce Prizes.

Year Recipient
2010 Scott Ransom
2009 Scott Gaudi
2008 Eliot Quataert
2007 Sara Seager
2006 Reem Sari
2005 Christopher Reynolds
2004 William Holzapfel
2003 Matias Zaldarriaga
2002 Adam Riess
2001 Uros Seljak
2000 Wayne Hu
1999 Lars Bildsten
1998 Marc Kamionkowski
1997 Charles C. Steidel
1996 Fred C. Adams
1995 E. Sterl Phinney
1994 David N. Spergel
1993 John F. Hawley
1992 Edmund Bertschinger
1991 Shrinivas Kulkarni
1990 Ethan T. Vishniac
1989 Nicholas Kaiser
1988 Mitchell C. Begelman
1987 Jack Wisdom
1986 Simon D. M. White
1985 Lennox L. Cowie
1984 Michael S. Turner
1983 Scott D. Tremaine
1982 Roger D. Blandford
1981 William H. Press
1980 Paul C. Joss
1979 Arthur Davidsen
1978 David N. Schramm
1977 Frank H. Shu
1976 Stephen E. Strom
1975 Patrick Palmer, Ben Zuckerman
1974 Dimitri Mihalas
1973 George P. Carruthers
1972 Jeremiah P. Ostriker
1971 Kenneth Kellermann
1970 John N. Bahcall
1969 Wallace L. W. Sargent
1968 Frank J. Low
1967 Pierre Demarque
1966 Riccardo Giacconi
1965 George W. Preston
1964 Maarten Schmidt
1963 Bernard F. Burke
1962 Robert Kraft
1961 Joseph W. Chamberlain
1960 Halton C. Arp
1959 E. Margaret Burbidge, Geoffrey Burbidge
1958 Merle F. Walker
1957 Allan R. Sandage
1956 Harold Johnson
1955 George H. Herbig
1954 Aden B. Meinel

Top of Page | Prize Committee | Nomination Instructions

Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize

The Tinsley Prize recognizes an outstanding research contribution to astronomy or astrophysics, of an exceptionally creative or innovative character. The Prize is normally awarded every two years. No restrictions are placed on a candidate's citizenship or country of residency.

Year Recipient
2010 Drake Deming
2009 Omitted
2008 Mark Reid
2006 John E. Carlstrom
2004 Ronald J. Reynolds
2002 Geoffrey W. Marcy, R. Paul Butler, Steven S. Vogt
2000 Charles Alcock
1998 Robert E. Williams
1996 Aleksander Wolszczan
1994 Raymond Davis
1992 Robert H. Dicke
1990 Antoine Labeyrie
1988 Harold I. Ewen, Edward M. Purcell
1986 S. Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Top of Page | Prize Committee | Nomination Instructions

Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation

The AAS's Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation is to be awarded to an individual, of any nationality, for the design, invention or significant improvement of instrumentation (not software) leading to advances in astronomy. No restrictions are placed on a candidate's citizenship or country of residency.

In order that the scientific impact of the instrumentation may be assessed properly, a considerable period of time may have elapsed between the development of the instrumentation and the granting of the Award.

Year Recipient
2010 Donald Hall
2009 Peter Serlemitsos
2008 James R. Houck
2007 Harvey Moseley
2006 J. Roger Angel
2005 Stephan Shectman
2004 Thomas G. Phillips
2003 Frank J. Low
2002 James E. Gunn

Top of Page | Prize Committee | Nomination Instructions

 

Lancelot M. Berkeley - New York Community Trust Prize for Meritorious Work in Astronomy

The Lancelot M. Berkeley New York Community Trust Prize for Meritorious Work in Astronomy is awarded annually for highly meritorious work in advancing the science of astronomy during the previous year. No restrictions are placed on a candidate's citizenship or country of residency. The prize may shared by up to three individuals and individuals are eligible to receive the prize more than once. The work being recognized must have been published in a peer-reviewed journal in the calendar year prior to the AAS prize nomination deadline.

Year Recipient
2011 Inaugural Award Year

Top of Page | Prize Committee | Nomination Instructions

 

Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics

The Heineman Prize for Astrophysics is awarded jointly by the American Institute of Physics and the American Astronomical Society and is funded by the Heineman Foundation. It was established in 1979, to recognize outstanding work in the field of astrophysics. No restrictions are placed on a candidate's citizenship or country of residency.

The official announcement of the Prize is made through the American Institute of Physics' Office of Public Relations.

The prize is presented to the recipient at one of the semi-annual meetings of the AAS, after discussion between the awardee and the AAS Executive Office. At this meeting, the recipient is invited, but not required, to deliver a lecture on the subject for which the Prize was awarded. Travel expenses incurred by the recipient to attend the meeting are reimbursed by the American Institute of Physics from funds provided by the Heineman Foundation.

Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics Committee

 

Year Recipient
2010 Edward Kolb, Michael S. Turner
2009 Lennox L. Cowie
2008 Andrew C. Fabian
2007 Robert Kennicutt
2006 Marc Davis
2005 George Efstathiou, Simon White
2004 Bruce T. Draine
2003 Rashid Sunyaev
2002 J. Richard Bond
2001 Bruce G. Elmegreen
2000 Frank H. Shu
1999 Kenneth C. Freeman
1998 Roger D. Blandford
1997 Scott D. Tremaine
1996 Roger A. Chevalier
1995 Jerry E. Nelson
1994 John N. Bahcall
1993 John C. Mather
1992 Bohdan Paczynski
1991 Wallace L. W. Sargent
1990 Richard McCray
1989 Carl E. Heiles
1988 James E. Gunn
1987 David L. Lambert
1986 Hyron Spinrad
1985 Sandra M. Faber
1984 Martin J. Rees
1983 Irwin I. Shapiro
1982 P. James E. Peebles
1981 Riccardo Giacconi
1980 Joseph H. Taylor, Jr.

 

George Van Biesbroeck Prize

The Van Biesbroeck prize is normally awarded every two years and honors a living individual for long-term extraordinary or unselfish service to astronomy, often beyond the requirements of his or her paid position. The AAS assumed responsibility for the Prize in 1997.

George Van Biesbroeck Prize Committee

Year Recipient
Awarded by AAS
2010 Virginia Trimble
2009 Father George V. Coyne
2008 Peter Stetson
2007 Stephen P. Maran
2006 No Award Given
2005 Eric Greisen
2004 Rodger Doxsey
2003 Donat G. Wentzel
2002 Victor M. Blanco
2001 Michael J. Kurtz
2000 D. Harold McNamara
1999 Barry M. Lasker
1998 Frank J. Lovas
1997 Helmut A. Abt
Awarded by Van Biesbroeck Award, Inc.
1996 Dave Crawford
1995 Arlo U. Landolt
1994 Wayne H. Warren, Jr.
1993 Janet Mattei
1992 Bob Kurucz
1991 Barry Clark
1990 Aden Meinel
1989 Brian Marsden
1988 Dorrit Hoffleit
1987 omitted
1986 John Hill
1985 Mark Giampapa
1984 John Stocke
1983 skipped
1982 Erick Young
1981 Marc Aaronson, Jeremy Mould
1980 Marcia Rieke
1979 Scott Davis

Education Prize

The AAS Education Prize is to recognize outstanding contributions to the education of the public, students and/or the next generation of professional astronomers.

Education Prize Committee

Year Recipient
2010 Philip M. Sadler
2009 Mary Kay Hemenway
2008 James B. Kaler
2007 Keith S. Noll
2006 Sidney Wolff
2005 Laurence A. Marschall
2004 Owen Gingerich
2003 Jay M. Pasachoff
2002 Michael Zeilik
2001 Frank D. Drake

Annenberg Foundation Prize

The AAS-Annenberg Prize was awarded annually for five years in recognition of outstanding contributions to science education through astronomy. A new prize with a different name was established in 2000.

Year Recipient
1996 Fred Hoyle
1995 Donald Goldsmith
1994 Andrew Fraknoi
1993 Dorrit Hoffleit
1992 Carl Sagan

Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy

The Annie Jump Cannon Award is given to a North American female astronomer within five years of receiving her PhD in the year designated for the award. The Cannon Prize is for outstanding research and promise for future research by a postdoctoral woman researcher. The prize will amount to $1500 and the winner will give an invited talk at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society and travel expenses will be paid. Self nominations will be allowed.

A complete nomination for the Cannon Award includes the same basic materials as for other AAS prizes. In addition, nominators should request that the nominee submit a research plan of no more than three pages describing her anticipated course of work for the next five years. The plan should be broadly accessible to astronomers with a range of scientific interests. Contact the AAS Secretary for more information.

Annie J. Cannon Award Committee

Year Recipient
Awarded by the AAS
2010 Anna Frebel
2009 Alicia M. Soderberg
2008 Jenny E. Greene
2007 Ann Hornschemeier
2006 Lisa J. Kewley
Awarded by the AAUW with advice of AAS
2004 Sara Ellison
2003 Annette Ferguson
2002 Vassiliki Kalogera
2001 Amy J. Barger
2000 Alycia J. Weinberger
1999 Marion S. (Sally) Oey
1998 Victoria M. Kaspi
1997 Chung-Pei Ma
1996 Joan Najita
1995 Suzanne Madden
1994 Andrea Mia Ghez
1993 Stefi Baum
1992 Elizabeth Lada
1991 Jane Luu
1990 Claudia Megan Urry
1989 Jacqueline N. Hewitt
1988 Karen J. Meech
1986 Rosemary F. Wyse
1984 Harriet L. Dinerstein
1982 Judith S. Young
1980 Lee Anne M. Willson
1978 Paula Szkody
1976 Catharine D. Garmany
1974 Beatrice M. Tinsley
Awarded by the AAS
1968 Henrietta H. Swope
1965 Erika Böhm-Vitense
1962 Margaret Harwood
1958 Margaret W. Mayall
1955 Helen Dodson Prince
1952 Ida Barney
1949 Helen S. Hogg
1946 Emma W. Vyssotsky
1943 Antonia C. Maury
1940 Julie M. Vinter-Hansen
1937 Charlotte M. Sitterly
1934 Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin

Award for Public Service to Science

This award was made in conjunction with the American Mathematical Society Award for Public Service to Scienceand American Physical Society.

The awards were given annually to up to four individuals who have performed outstanding public service in support of science.

Year Recipient

  • 2003
    • Senator Pete V. Domenici (R-NM)
    • Congressman Alan B. Mollohan (D-WV)
    • Congressman Sherwood L. Boehlert(R-NY)
  • 2002
    • Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
    • Congressman James T. Walsh (R-NY)
  • 2001
    • Neal Lane (former director NSF)
    • Congressman Vernon J. Ehlers (R-MI)
  • 2000
    • Harold Varmus (former director NIH)
    • Senator Bill Frist (R-TN)
    • Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)

Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award

The Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award is to be given for astronomy writing for an academic audience, specifically textbooks at either the upper division undergraduate level or the graduate level. The motivation for this choice is the fact that introductory textbooks and popular astronomy books have large markets and a number of existing modes of recognition and reward. Books serving astronomy majors and graduate students, by contrast, have relatively small markets and excellence in this area is rarely recognized. Nonetheless, such books serve a vital role in the professional development.

Books suitable for this award must be currently available in North America. A single medal will be given if the winning book has multiple authors, the monetary award divided and multiple certificates issued.

Chambliss Writing Award Rules

Chambliss Award Nomination Form

Astronomical Writing Award Committee

Year Recipients

  • 2009 — Dan Maoz
  • 2008 — Linda S. Sparke and John S. Gallagher
  • 2007 — Imke De Pater and Jack Lissauer
  • 2006 — Barbara Ryden

Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award

The award will be for an achievement in astronomical research made by an amateur astronomer; that is a person not employed in the field of astronomy in a professional capacity, and who is resident in North America. The key factor will be that the work contributes to the advancement of the science of astronomy.

Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award Rules

Chambliss Award Nomination Form

Year Recipients

  • 2009 — Robert D. Stephens
  • 2008 — Steve Mandel
  • 2007 — Ronald H. Bissinger
  • 2006 — Brian D. Warner

Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Awards

The Astronomy Achievement Student Awards are given to recognize exemplary research by undergraduate and graduate students who present at one of the poster sessions at the meetings of the AAS. Awardees are honored with a Chambliss medal and a certificate.

Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Award Rules

Recipients

  • 216th Meeting - 23-27 May 2010, Miami, FL
    • Graduate
      Kyle Augustson
      Rebekah Dawson
      Cyrus Nejat
    • Undergraduate
      Blake Sharitts
      Aaron Meisner
      Mary Burkey
  • 215th Meeting - 3-7 January 2010 2010, Washington, DC
    • Graduate
      Sean M. Couch
      Ian Crossfield
      Scott Engle
      Ryan Johnson
    • Undergraduate
      Kyle Cook
      Ian Czekala
      Breann Sitarski
  • 214th Meeting - 7-11 June 2009, Pasadena, CA
    • Graduate
      Daniel Caputo
      Ian Crossfield
      Rachel L. Smith
    • Undergraduate
      Sandra Behncke
  • 213th Meeting - 4-8 January 2009, Long Beach, CA
    • Graduate
      Tabitha C. Bush
      Calen B. Henderson
      Therese  Jones
      Hwihyun  Kim
      Chun  Ly
      Erin L. Ryan
      Shanil N. Virani
    • Undergraduate
      Erin  Macdonald
      Timothy  Minella
      Lauren M. Weiss
  • 212th Meeting - 1-5 June 2008, St. Louis, MO
    • Graduate
      Francesca D'Arcangelo
      Aaron Price
      Seamus Riley
      Alaina Shelden
    • Undergraduate
      Jessica Keller
      Curtis McCully
  • 211th Meeting - 7-11 Janaury 2008, Austin, TX
    • Graduate
      Julia Comerford
      Genevieve de Messieres
    • Undergraduate
      Tyler Desjardins
      Robert Zellem
      Lea Zernow
  • 210th Meeting - 27-31 May 2007, Honolulu, HI
    • Graduate
      Joseph Neilson
      TalaWanda Monroe
    • Undergraduate
      Shimonee Kadakia
  • 209th Meeting - 5-10 January 2007, Seattle WA
    • Graduate
      Arti Garg
      Amber Straughn
    • Undergraduate
      Betsey Adams
      Amandeep Gill
      Ferah Munshi
  • 208th Meeting - 4-8 June 2006, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    • Graduate
      Anna Quider

Rodger Doxsey Travel Prizes

The Rodger Doxsey Travel Prize, established through the support of his father, John Doxsey, and other friends, family, and colleagues, provides graduate students within one year of receiving or receipt of their PhD a monetary prize to enable the oral presentation of their dissertation research at an American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting.

Rodger Doxsey Travel Prize Rules

Recipients

  • 217th Meeting - 9-13 January 2011, Seattle, WA
    • 2011 Inaugural Prize Year