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The Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award is for astronomy writing for an academic audience, specifically textbooks at either the upper-division undergraduate or 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 professional development.

Books suitable for this award must be currently available in North America. A single gold medal will be given, and if the winning book has multiple authors, the $1,000 monetary award will be divided, and multiple certificates will be issued.

Self-nominations are allowed. Prize nominations are due by 30 June each year.

Nomination Checklist

Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award Committee

Photo of Kevin Heng2018 – Kevin Heng
For his pioneering graduate textbook Exoplanetary Atmospheres: Theoretical Concepts and Foundations (Princeton University Press, 2017) — a clearly written, well-motivated introduction to the theory of exoplanetary atmospheres, a field of great current and future interest.
Photo of George Rieke2013 – George Rieke
For his graduate textbook Measuring the Universe: A Multiwavelength Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2012). Rieke reviews the underlying operational principles of current instrumentation and techniques, often inserting historical perspective and wisdom to help readers become better and more well-informed practitioners.
Photo of Abraham (Avi) Loeb2012 – Abraham (Avi) Loeb
For his lively, but concise account, "How Did the First Stars and Galaxies Form?" (Princeton University Press 2010). Loeb addresses astronomical processes in a physically intuitive manner, with an emphasis on the big picture.
Photo of Caleb A. Scharf2011 – Caleb A. Scharf
For his groundbreaking textbook “Extrasolar Planets and Astrobiology” (University Science Books, 2009). This book provides a rigorous treatment of astrobiological topics of contemporary interest; it spans a wide range of subjects including physics, astronomy, chemistry, and biology.
Photo of Hale Bradt2010 – Hale Bradt
For his upper level undergraduate/graduate astronomy textbook, “Astrophysics Processes,” a serious, high-level, calculus-based text for introducing the basics of the physics of astronomical phenomena at roughly the junior-senior undergraduate or first year graduate level.
Year Recipient(s) Citation
2009 Dan Maoz For his textbook "Astrophysics in a Nutshell," which provides a wide-ranging treatment of topics from stellar structure to cosmology, this advanced undergraduate text explains crucial physics with sufficient depth to capture students' curiosity without getting lost in detail.
2008 Linda S. Sparke & John S. Gallagher For their textbook “Galaxies in the Universe: An Introduction," which has been widely adopted in many upper division undergraduate and graduate courses. It serves as an excellent foundation and introduction for new researchers, providing background for, and synthesis of, the many diverse topics necessary to understand galaxies: stellar structure and evolution, the interstellar medium, radiative transfer, gravitational dynamics and gas dynamics.
2007 Imke De Pater & Jack Lissauer For their book, “Planetary Astrophysics," an ambitious text, which surveys the entire field of planetary astronomy, at the advanced undergraduate or beginning graduate level. In the words of one nominating letter, it “has rapidly become the standard text for teachers of planetary sciences."
2006 Barbara Ryden