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F. Richard Stephenson to Receive HAD's 2014 Doggett Prize

Friday, October 4, 2013 - 12:55

This item is posted on behalf of Jarita Holbrook (Chair, HAD Prize Committee) and Joe Tenn (HAD Secretary-Treasurer):

The Historical Astronomy Division (HAD) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is pleased to announce that Professor F. Richard Stephenson will be the ninth recipient of the LeRoy E. Doggett Prize for Historical Astronomy. The Division’s highest honor, the Doggett Prize is awarded biennially to an individual who has significantly influenced the field of the history of astronomy by a career-long effort. The prize will be awarded at the 223rd AAS meeting in Washington, DC, on 6 January 2014, after which the recipient will deliver a plenary lecture, “Applied Historical Astronomy,” to the Society.

The 2014 Doggett Prize is presented to Professor Stephenson in recognition of his research, writing, teaching, and leadership in the historical astronomy community. An emeritus professor and honorary research fellow at the University of Durham, Dr. Stephenson is widely considered to be the founder of the field of applied historical astronomy. He has done exemplary work in searching ancient records for entries related to astronomical events, such as eclipses and supernovae, that would have been spectacular to our ancestors. On one level, finding such entries is of historical importance. Dr. Stephenson went further, however, by extracting information of importance to modern scientists, such as precise dating of eclipses and changes in the appearances of supernovae. His research has provided convincing evidence that the study of ancient records can contribute not only to the history of astronomy but also to the solution of problems in contemporary astronomy and geophysics.

Dr. Stephenson has made additional important studies of the past orbit of Halley’s Comet, solar variability, oriental star maps, ancient chronology in several regions, and the accuracy and reliability of pre-telescopic observations.

More information:

Richard Tresch Fienberg
Press Officer
American Astronomical Society