To foster and recognize excellence in astronomy, the AAS awards, or jointly awards with other organizations, prizes for outstanding contributions to astronomical research, instrumentation, education, writing, and service. With one exception, only AAS members are eligible to submit nominations, and self-nominations are now allowed for all prizes and awards that have a 30 June nomination deadline — including the Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award, which is open for self-nomination by nonmembers (that's the exception), as explained below.
The AAS specifically encourages nominations of, and self-nominations from, astronomers who are members of marginalized groups, including people of color, people with disabilities, and sexual and gender minorities.
All Society members are encouraged to nominate worthy colleagues or themselves for recognition by the AAS. It is not only the monetary prize but also the honor and distinction that can mean so much for an astronomer's career. A prize also adds luster to the recipient's department and/or institution in the eyes of the academic and scientific communities.
AAS prize nominations* are due in the AAS Secretary's office by 30 June each year for the following prizes and awards:
- Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy — for distinguished contributions by a woman.
- Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award — for exemplary research by an amateur astronomer.
- Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award — for astronomy writing for an academic audience.
- Education Prize — for outstanding contributions to astronomy education.
- Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics — awarded jointly with the American Institute of Physics (AIP) for outstanding mid-career work in astrophysics.
- Newton Lacy Pierce Prize in Astronomy — for outstanding early-career achievement in observational research.
- Henry Norris Russell Lectureship — for lifetime preeminence in astronomical research.
- Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize — for outstanding research of an exceptionally creative or innovative character.
- George Van Biesbroeck Prize — for long-term extraordinary or unselfish service to astronomy.
- Helen B. Warner Prize for Astronomy — for significant early-career observational or theoretical research.
- Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation — for the design, invention, or improvement of instrumentation.
*Self-nominations are now allowed for all AAS prizes and awards that have a 30 June nomination deadline.
The following prizes and awards are decided by different processes with different deadlines and, in some cases, do not accept nominations: Lancelot M. Berkeley − New York Community Trust Prize for Meritorious Work in Astronomy, Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Awards, Rodger Doxsey Travel Prizes, Fred Kavli Plenary Lectureship, Priscilla and Bart Bok Award, and Award for Public Service to the Astronomical Sciences. See the individual prize pages for more information.
AAS Divisions give prizes as well, and these, too, are decided by different processes with different deadlines; see the individual Division websites for more information.
Before nominating someone for a prize or award, please read the descriptions and review the recipient lists to verify that your proposed candidate is eligible for the intended prize or award and has not already received it.
Next, compile the materials requested below and upload them via one of the following forms:
- AAS Prize Nomination Form I: Chambliss Writing, Education, Heineman, Russell, Tinsley, Van Biesbroeck, Weber
- AAS Prize Nomination Form II: Cannon
- AAS Prize Nomination Form III: Pierce, Warner
- AAS Prize Nomination Form IV: Chambliss Amateur
Or, if necessary, send your nomination package by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A complete prize nomination consists of the following items; please pay particular attention to the notes and exceptions:
- The candidate's curriculum vitae (CV).
- A bibliography of the candidate's published articles. Exception: Not required for the Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award; if possible, please substitute the candidate's website URL and/or pointers to any other documents or publications that provide evidence of the candidate's contributions.
- Abstracts of three publications illustrative of the candidate's merit. Exception: Not required for the Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award.
- Three letters of support. Self-nominees may not write letters of support for themselves; all three letters of support must come from other people. To submit a letter of support directly to the AAS Secretary without it being seen by the nominator and/or the candidate, please upload it using our AAS Prize Letter of Support Form (see Related below).
- Letters of support should explicitly address whether a nominee's professional conduct over their career exemplifies the principles and expectations noted in the AAS Code of Ethics, the Professional and Ethical Standards for the AAS Journals, the Anti-Harassment Policy for AAS & Division Meetings & Activities, and the Guide to AAS Meeting Etiquette.
- We don't want the prize-committee members to know which candidates were nominated by others and which candidates nominated themselves. Accordingly, all three letters of support must say something like "I'm writing to support the nomination of [candidate's name]" rather than "I'm writing to nominate [candidate's name]." Any letter of support that suggests that the author is "nominating" the candidate rather than "supporting the nomination of" the candidate will be returned for a rewrite.
- Please note that we do not request or require — and will not accept — letters of nomination. As explained in the previous paragraph, we need three letters of support, each written by someone other than the nominee/candidate. This applies to all prize nominations, including self-nominations and nominations by others.
- The candidate's birth date and month/year of PhD. Note: This is required only for the Cannon Award and the Pierce and Warner Prizes because of their age and length-of-career restrictions.
- A five-year research plan of no more than three pages in language broadly accessible to astronomers whose expertise may lie in areas outside that of the candidate. Note: Required only for the Cannon Award.
Please note: When submitting a nomination, even for someone other than yourself, it is your responsibility to ensure that the AAS receives all of the nominee's materials (e.g., CV, publication list, etc.).
For convenience, we have provided prize nomination checklists for all of the prizes and awards whose nomination materials are due on 30 June.
Prize nominations generally remain valid for a period of three years, including the original year in which the candidate was nominated. For example, a person's 2019 nomination package remains in effect for 2019, 2020, and 2021. Exception: The three-year validity period may not apply to the Cannon Award, Pierce Prize, and/or Warner Prize, for example, when a candidate becomes ineligible by exceeding the age and/or time-since-PhD limit(s). But note that suspensions of career progress due to documented family or medical leave may be allowed as a factor in considering a person's eligibility for the Cannon or Pierce prizes.
Questions? Comments? Please email the AAS Secretary.