23 January 2020

AAS Members Honored by National Academy of Sciences

Richard Fienberg

Richard Fienberg, AAS Press Officer

This post is adapted from several pages on the National Academy of Sciences website:

On 22 January 2020 the National Academy of Sciences announced the recipients of its latest awards in recognition of extraordinary scientific achievements in a wide range of fields. Among the honorees are two AAS members:

Linda Elkins-Tanton Prize Banner


Linda T. Elkins-Tanton (Arizona State University) will receive the Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship for illuminating the early evolution of rocky planets and planetesimals. The award is presented with a $50,000 prize and funds to present a series of Day Lectures.

Elkins-Tanton has produced high-impact publications on magma oceans, studied the formation of the Siberian flood basalts and how they triggered catastrophic climate change and the extinction event at the end of the Permian, and explored models of thermal processing on the early Moon that may help us understand the complex history recorded in ancient lunar crustal rocks. She currently serves as the principal investigator for the NASA spacecraft mission to Psyche, an M-class asteroid thought to be largely made of metal. The Psyche spacecraft is scheduled for launch in 2022 and arrival in 2026.

Award citation: "For her work that combines geodynamic modeling, petrology, geochemistry and field investigations to provide first-order constraints and fundamental insights into planetary chemical differentiation processes."

Read more about Elkins-Tanton's work »

Lisa Kewley Prize Banner


Lisa Kewley (Australian National University) will receive the James Craig Watson Medal for improving our understanding of how galaxies form and evolve. The medal is presented with a $25,000 prize and $50,000 to support the recipient’s research.

Kewley’s combination of theoretical models and astronomical observations has had an enormous impact on our understandings of how galaxies have formed and evolved over the past 12 billion years.  She has made fundamental contributions to the study of galaxy collisions, cosmic chemical abundances, galaxy energetics, and the star-formation history of galaxies.

Award citation: "For her fundamental contributions to our understanding of galaxy collisions, cosmic chemical abundances, galactic energetics, and the star-formation history of galaxies by elucidating key processes in star-forming galaxies, including nebular physics, accretion by supermassive black holes, and oxygen enrichment."

Read more about Kewley's work »

Congratulations to Linda Elkins-Tanton and Lisa Kewley!