18 January 2017

HAD Awards 2017 Osterbrock Book Prize to Thomas Hockey

Kenneth Rumstay Valdosta State University

The AAS Historical Astronomy Division (HAD) is pleased to announce the award of its Donald E. Osterbrock Book Prize for 2017 to Thomas Hockey (University of Northern Iowa), editor in chief of the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers, 2nd Edition (Springer, 2014). Hockey received his PhD in interdisciplinary studies — astronomy, history, and philosophy — in 1988 from New Mexico State University. His research interests include the history of planetary astronomy (in light of the modern search for planets orbiting other stars), solar eclipses, comets, and archaeoastronomy.

The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers is a four-volume reference work containing approximately 1,850 biographical sketches of astronomers, spanning antiquity to the modern era. The individual entries, provided by authors in 40 countries, range in length from about 100 to 1,500 words. In his 2008 review of the 1st edition, Donald K. Yeomans said, "After six years of effort, the 1,341-page Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers has finally been published. It was worth the wait." The 2nd edition, grown to 2,434 pages, added approximately 300 biographies and updated many found in the earlier edition.

Many HAD members who recommended the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers for the Osterbrock prize praised it as an exceptionally valuable reference work. The award also recognizes the seven editors who contributed enormous amounts of effort to completion of this monumental work: Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. Marché II, JoAnn Palmeri, and Daniel W. E. Green. Also included implicitly in the award are the 430 contributing authors. The award was presented on 4 January 2017 at the HAD meeting in Grapevine, Texas.