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The Russell Lecturer is normally chosen annually on the basis of a lifetime of eminence in astronomical research. The award includes a suitably engraved certificate, 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 Russell Lecture is given, and publication of the lecture (or research related to the subject of the prize, though publication of the lecture is strongly preferred) in a Society journal.

Self-nominations are allowed. Nominations are due 30 June each year.

Donate to the Henry Norris Russell Lectureship Fund

Nomination Checklist

Russell Lectureship Committee

Photo of Christopher F. McKee2016 – Christopher F. McKee
For his innovative ideas, powerful theoretical insights, and practical models that have had significant impact on many areas of astrophysics.
Photo of Giovanni Fazio2015 – Giovanni Fazio
For his pioneering work on gamma-ray and infrared instrumentation, which has advanced our understanding in many areas of astronomy, ranging from near-Earth objects to high-redshift galaxies.
Photo of George Field2014 – George Field
For a lifetime of contributions to our basic understanding of diffuse plasmas in the universe that continue to motivate current astronomers. As the founding director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, he created a significant institution to advance astronomy. His visionary leadership of the 1980 decadal survey remains a landmark in science policy that brought powerful new instrumental capabilities to the astronomical community. [Journal Article]
Photo of Kenneth C. Freeman2013 – Kenneth C. Freeman
For a lifetime of seminal contributions to the fields of galaxy structure and dynamics and stellar populations. Throughout his career, Ken Freeman has been a leader in our understanding of the structure and evolution of galaxies by combining theory and modeling with observations. Through his many PhD students and his generous interactions with countless colleagues, his influence on Galactic and extragalactic astronomy has extended far beyond his own research. [Lecture Abstract]
Year Recipient(s) Citation and Additional Materials
2012 W. David Arnett For a lifetime of seminal contributions to the fields of stellar explosions, nuclear astrophysics, and hydrodynamics.
Lecture Abstract
2011 Sandra M. Faber For a lifetime of seminal contributions to galaxy evolution and dynamics, the distribution of the mysterious “dark matter” in the universe, for leading the construction of astronomical instrumentation, and for mentoring future leading astronomers.
Lecture Abstract
2010 Margaret J. Geller For a lifetime of work on the distribution and clustering of galaxies in the Universe and for her notable success in describing this work to the public.
Lecture Abstract  |  Journal Article
2009 George W. Preston For a lifetime of research that has transformed our understanding of RR Lyrae variables, stellar magnetic fields, and stellar chromospheres, and led to a comprehensive view of the nature, chemistry, kinematics, and metallicity and age distribution in the Galactic stellar halo.
Lecture Abstract  |  Journal Article
2008 Rashid Sunyaev For his seminal contributions to high energy astrophysics and cosmology.
Lecture Abstract
2007 David Lambert For fundamental contributions in the field of stellar spectroscopy and the chemical composition of the sun, the stars, and interstellar clouds.
Lecture Abstract
2006 Bohdan Paczynski For his highly original contributions to a wide variety of fields including advanced stellar evolution, the nature of gamma ray bursts, accretion in binary systems, gravitational lensing, and cosmology.
Lecture Abstract
2005 James E. Gunn For contributions to observational, instrumental, and theoretical astrophysics that have informed our understanding of the universe and a large fraction of its contents, including Gunn-Peterson absorption in quasar spectra, weak gravitational lensing, galactic and stellar dynamics, pulsars and quasars, and the objects of study of numerous spectrographs, cameras, and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
Lecture Abstract
2004 Martin J. Rees For significant contributions to high energy astrophysics and cosmology, including predicting superluminal expansion, analyzing the role of black holes in galactic nuclei and binary x-ray sources, and developing the theory of galaxy formation and evolution.
Lecture Abstract
2003 George W. Wetherill For pioneering the application of modern physics and numerical simulations to the formation and evolution of terrestrial planets.
2002 George Wallerstein For his contributions to our understanding of the abundances of the elements in stars and clusters.
Lecture Abstract
2001 Wallace L. W. Sargent For his contributions to astronomical spectroscopy.Lecture Abstract
2000 Donald Lynden-Bell For his efforts to understand the rich properties of disks around planets, stars, black holes, and galaxies; the study of the motions of gas clouds around the Milky Way, of galaxies within the Local Group, and of the nearby universe through the thermal background radiation; and the importance of considering the fundamental basis for our subject within the sciences of heat, matter, and gravitation.
Lecture Abstract  |  Journal Article
1999 John N. Bahcall Lecture Abstract
1998 Charles H. Townes Lecture Abstract
1997 Alastair G. W. Cameron Lecture Abstract
1996 Gerry Neugebauer Lecture Abstract  |  Journal Article
1995 Robert P. Kraft Lecture Abstract
1994 Vera C. Rubin Lecture Abstract
1993 P. James E. Peebles Lecture Abstract
1992 Lawrence H. Aller Lecture Abstract
1991 Donald E. Osterbrock Lecture Abstract
1990 Sidney van den Bergh Lecture Abstract
1989 Icko Iben, Jr. Lecture Abstract
1988 Gerard de Vaucouleurs Lecture Abstract
1987 Fred L. Whipple Lecture Abstract
1986 Albert E. Whitford Lecture Abstract
1985 Olin J. Eggen Lecture Abstract
1984 E. Margaret Burbidge Lecture Abstract
1983 Herbert Friedman
1982 Bart J. Bok Lecture Abstract  |  Journal Article
1981 Riccardo Giacconi
1980 Jeremiah P. Ostriker
1979 Peter Goldreich
1978 Maarten Schmidt
1977 Olin C. Wilson Lecture Abstract
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 Journal Article
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