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 PhD degree (for the 2021 prize, for example, the recipient must have received their PhD in 2013 or later or must have been born in 1986 or later). The recipient shall be a resident of North America (including Hawaii and Puerto Rico) or a member of a North American institution stationed abroad.

Self-nominations are allowed, and all prize requirements must be met at the time of nomination. 


  • The recipient shall be a resident of North America (including Hawaiʻiand Puerto Rico) or a member of a North American institution stationed abroad.
  • Early career — 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 PhD degree. (Note: there is no exemption due to career interruptions.)


  • significant contribution to observational or theoretical astronomy
  • cited work done during the five years preceding the award.

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

Nominations are open and are due on 30 June.

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Warner/Pierce Prize Committee

2024 - Carl Rodriguez

For fundamental advances on the astrophysical origin of gravitational-wave sources.

2023 – Ana Bonaca

For innovative advances in our understanding of the hierarchical formation of the Milky Way and constraints on the galactic potential.

2022 – Brett McGuire

For pioneering research into complex astrophysical chemistry, including foundational work on chiral and aromatic molecules in the interstellar medium.
Rebekah Dawson

2021 – Rebekah Dawson

For her important contributions on planet formation and dynamics, particularly on hot Jupiter exoplanets and the connection between planetary composition and orbital structure.

2020 – Smadar Naoz

For her many contributions to theoretical astrophysics, especially her influential and creative studies in cosmology and dynamics.

2019 – Jo Bovy

For his contributions to our understanding of the structure and dynamics of the Milky Way and his work on forward modeling of large scientific data sets.

2018 – Yacine Ali-Haïmoud

For his extraordinary work on a broad array of cosmological problems. His insights into how to vastly speed up calculations of the effects of hydrogen recombination have proven critical to the interpretation of Planck data.

2017 – Charlie Conroy

For his work in modeling stellar populations and galaxy evolution.

2016 – Philip F. Hopkins

For his research on galaxy formation and evolution and the growth of supermassive black holes.

2015 – Ruth Murray-Clay

For her substantial contributions to numerous areas of astrophysics.

2014 – Christopher M. Hirata

For his remarkable theoretical and observational cosmological work, particularly that connected with weak gravitational lensing which is one of the most important ways of assessing the distribution of mass in the universe.
Year Recipient(s) Citation
2013 Mark Krumholz For his major theoretical contributions in the areas of massive star formation and the interstellar medium, both in the Galaxy and in the early universe.
2012 Eric B. Ford For his theoretical and computational research in the field of extrasolar planets, including ground-breaking work on the dynamical evolution of planetary systems and planet formation.
2011 Steven R. Furlanetto For his theoretical work in the field of high-redshift cosmology, including ground-breaking work on the epoch of reionization and its observational signatures, opening up new pathways to the study of reionization in the redshifted 21 cm hydrogen line.
2010 Scott Ransom For his astrophysical insight and innovative technical leadership enabling the discovery of exotic, millisecond and young pulsars and their application for tests of fundamental physics
2009 Scott Gaudi For significant and broad theoretical contributions to the field of exoplanet research, particularly in the area of micro-lensing detection and characterization of planetary systems, as well as for planets detected via transit and traditional radial velocity techniques.
2008 Eliot Quataert For his contributions to plasma astrophysics and accretion processes, the theory of low luminosity galactic nuclei, and an extraordinary range of other topics in theoretical astrophysics.
2007 Sara Seager For her development of fundamental techniques for understanding,analyzing, and finding the atmospheres of extrasolar planets.
2006 Reem Sari For his diverse contributions to the theoretical understanding of relativistic explosions, gamma-ray bursts, and the dynamics of solar system bodies.
2005 Christopher Reynolds For his pioneering work on black hole astrophysics and testing the predictions of general relativity
2004 William Holzapfel For his innovative work in designing and building numerous experiments to measure the fluctuations of the Cosmic Microwave Background as well as for his leadership in the analysis and interpretation of these results.
2003 Matias Zaldarriaga For his incisive, major contributions to the theory of cosmic microwave background (CMB) anisotropies.
2002 Adam Riess In recognition of his significant contribution towards measuring cosmological distances unimaginable a decade ago through the study of SNe Ia and for the astonishing discovery of the acceleration of the universe and a non-zerocosmological constant.
2001 Uros Seljak For his contributions to the theoretical understanding of the cosmic microwave background anisotropies and to the development of numerical and analytical tools that have been widely adopted for the comparison of observational data and cosmological models in that area.
2000 Wayne Hu For clarifying our understanding of how fluctuations in the microwave background radiation are formed under a comprehensive range of cosmological assumptions, and for demonstrating how observations of galaxies from large surveys can lead to complementary information covering more recent epochs.
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 R. 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