28 January 2021

HEAD Announces 2021 Award Winners

Megan Watzke
HEAD Press Officer

The AAS High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) has selected the winners for its top prizes for 2021.

HEAD 2021 Prizewinners
Left to right: Francis Halzen, Anna Watts, Renee Ludlam, and Richard Kelley.

The 2021 Bruno Rossi Prize has been awarded to Francis Halzen (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and the IceCube Collaboration “for the discovery of a high-energy neutrino flux of astrophysical origin.” The IceCube Neutrino Observatory is the first detector of its kind, designed to observe the cosmos from deep within the South Pole ice. An international group of scientists responsible for the scientific research makes up the IceCube Collaboration.

HEAD awards the Rossi Prize for a significant contribution to high-energy astrophysics, with particular emphasis on recent, original work. The prize is in honor of Professor Bruno Rossi, an authority on cosmic-ray physics and a pioneer in the field of X-ray astronomy. The prize includes an engraved certificate and a $1,500 award. Halzen will give a prize lecture at the 239th AAS meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, in January 2022.

The 2021 HEAD Mid-Career Prize, which recognizes a significant advance or accomplishment (observational or theoretical) in high-energy astrophysics by an individual astrophysicist within 15 years of receiving their PhD, will go to Anna Watts (University of Amsterdam). She was selected for “for her trailblazing work in the understanding of neutron star fluid dynamics, and developing and applying rigorous inference to obtain observational constraints on dense matter.”

Renee Ludlam (Caltech) has been chosen for this year’s HEAD Dissertation Prize, which acknowledges an outstanding new PhD dissertation in high-energy astrophysics. Ludlam received her PhD from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a thesis entitled "A Hard Look at Accretion Around Neutron Stars." She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Richard Kelley (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) was selected to receive the HEAD Innovation Prize “for his unflagging effort to make the transformational capabilities of the X-ray microcalorimeter available to the high-energy astrophysics community.”

Congratulations, all!