20 May 2024

DDA's 2024 Awards for Achievements in Dynamical Astronomy

Susanna Kohler

Susanna Kohler American Astronomical Society (AAS)

The AAS Division on Dynamical Astronomy (DDA) has announced the recipients of its major awards for 2024. Dong Lai (Cornell University) is being honored with the Dirk Brouwer Career Award for outstanding contributions to the field, and Sarah Millholland (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) will receive the Vera Rubin Early Career Prize.

Dong LaiProfessor Dong Lai is recognized and celebrated for his formidable and broad contributions to astrophysical dynamics, his outstanding mentoring record, and his wide-ranging professional service activities.

Professor Lai is a prolific researcher whose expertise spans fluid dynamics, magneto-hydrodynamics, N-body dynamics, and relativistic dynamics, as well as neutron stars, black holes, white dwarfs, and exoplanets. The depth and impact of his expertise are showcased in his many invited review papers, as well as with his individual pioneering advancements in each of these fields. Just a couple examples of his contributions include the identification of astrophysical spin-orbit coupling in binary pulsars as a robust mechanism for measuring the asymmetry of core-collapse supernovae and the application of tidal dissipation in planet-hosting stars to reveal the prior evolutionary history of the planets. [Complete citation on DDA website]

Sarah MillhollandDr. Sarah Millholland is recognized for her outstanding, wide-ranging contributions to the dynamics of multi-planet extrasolar systems.

Dr. Millholland's work is distinguished by thoughtful analyses of 3D dynamical processes in planetary systems and by the effective use of observational data to constrain dynamical models. Drawing a few examples from her substantial collection of important contributions, Dr. Millholland has demonstrated that super-Earth planets within a planetary system typically have similar masses, that the statistics of compact multi-planet systems are consistent with a smooth inclination distribution, and that resonances trapping obliquities to high values may enhance the tidal evolution of planetary orbits. [Complete citation on the DDA website]

Both Lai and Millholland will be invited to give lectures at the 56th annual DDA meeting, to be held in the spring of 2025.

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