21 June 2019

Jo Bovy Awarded DDA's Vera Rubin Early Career Prize

Richard Fienberg, AAS Press Officer

This post is adapted from a AAS/DDA press release:

Jo BovyThe AAS Division on Dynamical Astronomy (DDA) is awarding its 2019 Vera Rubin Early Career Prize to Dr. Jo Bovy, Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Galactic Astrophysics at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Prof. Bovy earned his PhD from New York University in 2011 under the direction of David W. Hogg and has studied a wide range of phenomena related to the dynamics of the Milky Way. He has used stellar motions in the solar neighborhood to constrain the local abundance of dark matter, clarified the spatial and kinematic structure of different stellar populations within the galactic disk, and developed ways to model perturbations on stellar streams. His work has provided key insights into how to model large surveys of our galaxy. Bovy has also supported and advanced dynamical astronomy by developing an open-source Python toolkit, galpy, that has been used for a wide variety of applications.

The Vera Rubin Early Career Prize, established in 2016 and first awarded the following year, recognizes an early career dynamicist who demonstrates excellence in scientific research in dynamical astronomy or a related discipline and who shows promise of continued excellence in research, teaching, and the advancement and support of the field. The prize is named for the late Vera Rubin, who is best known for her work measuring the discrepancy between the observed rotational motions of galaxies and their predicted motion due to the gravitational forces arising from visible matter. Her observations began a lifelong quest, that now includes generations of astronomers, to better understand the invisible universe. She was not only an extraordinary scientist, but also well known for her kindness toward and encouragement of young scientists. The award comes with an honorarium, a framed certificate, and an invitation to give a prize lecture at the 51st annual meeting of the DDA in Boulder, Colorado, in 2020.

"It's a great honor to receive this award named for such a pioneer in my field," says Bovy, who earlier this year was also named recipient of the AAS's 2019 Helen B. Warner Prize for significant early career work in observational or theoretical astronomy.