244th meeting

Meeting Program

Madison, Wisconsin
244th meeting of the American Astronomical Society
Madison, Wisconsin
9 – 13 June 2024

Rachel Bezanson

Fred Kavli Plenary Lecture

Rachel Bezanson is an observational astronomer who uses a variety of ground and space-based telescopes to study the lives of massive galaxies through cosmic time. She grew up in a tiny mountain town in Colorado and earned her bachelor’s degree in Astrophysics at Barnard College and her PhD in Astronomy at Yale University, with an interlude teaching middle and high school Physics and Astronomy in Brooklyn. Following her PhD, she was a Hubble fellow at Steward Observatory in Arizona and a Russell fellow at Princeton University, before joining the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in 2017. She is a Cottrell Scholar and recipient of an NSF CAREER award.

Kristopher Klein

Karen Harvey Prize

Kristopher G. Klein is an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona in the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. Dr. Klein's research focuses on studying fundamental plasma phenomena that governs the dynamics of systems within our heliosphere as well as more distant astrophysical bodies, focusing on identifying heating and energization mechanisms in weakly collisional plasmas as well as evaluating the effects of the departure from local thermodynamic equilibrium. He is the deputy Principal Investigator for the upcoming NASA mission HelioSwarm, and was co-awarded the 2022 Lev D. Landau and Lyman Spitzer Jr. Award for Outstanding Contributions to Plasma Physics "(f)or the theoretical development of the field-particle correlation technique and its application to spacecraft measurements directly showing that electron Landau damping plays a role in the dissipation of space plasma turbulence."

Judith Lean

George Ellery Hale Prize

Judith Lean is a Research Scientist at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Boulder, and formerly the Senior Scientist for Sun Earth System Research at the Naval Research Laboratory, where she is now Emeritus. Her research focuses on mechanisms and measurements of variations in the Sun's radiative output and the effects of this variability on Earth. She has developed models that account for observed solar irradiance variability in terms of solar magnetic features, reconstruct this variability in the past, and project it into the future. These models, which inform detection and attribution of climate change, ozone layer variability, and impacts of space climate on spacecraft orbits and communication, are used to produce NOAA’s operational Solar Irradiance Data Climate Data Record. She is a member of NASEM and APS, an AGU Fellow, and the 2024 recipient of the George Ellery Hale Prize.

Teznie Pugh

Plenary Speaker

Teznie Pugh is the Superintendent of the University of Texas at Austin McDonald Observatory. Dr. Pugh has worked for more than a decade in observatory operations and management. She works closely with local, regional, and national representative and organizations on limiting artificial light at night and was a driving force behind the founding of the world's largest international dark sky reserve. She serves with Aparna Venkatesan as co-Chair of the American Astronomical Society's Committee to Protect Astronomy and the Space Environment (COMPASSE).

Carl L. Rodriguez

Helen B. Warner Prize for Astronomy

Carl L. Rodriguez is a theoretical astrophysicist working at the interface of stellar dynamics, gravitational waves, and transient astrophysics. Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, he is now an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed his PhD at Northwestern University in 2016 before moving on to be a Pappalardo Fellow at MIT, an ITC Fellow at Harvard, and an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon (2020-2022). He is PI of the stellar dynamics, stellar evolution, black holes, and gravitational waves group at UNC, and is a recipient of the Sloan Fellowship, the Packard Fellowship, and the 2023 Vera Rubin Early Career Award from the Division of Dynamical Astronomy.

Aparna Venkatesan

Plenary Speaker

Aparna Venkatesan is an astronomer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of San Francisco, and co-Director of USF's Tracy Seeley Center for Teaching Excellence. She serves with Teznie Pugh as co-Chair of the American Astronomical Society's Committee to Protect Astronomy and the Space Environment (COMPASSE). Dr. Venkatesan works on studies of the first stars and quasars in the universe, and on numerous cultural astronomy and space policy projects. She is deeply committed to improving ADEI in astronomy and STEM, and to developing respectful scientific partnerships co-created with Indigenous communities worldwide.