10 May 2023

DDA's 2023 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 2023. Alessandra Celletti (University of Rome Tor Vergata) is being honored with the Dirk Brouwer Career Award for outstanding contributions to the field, and Carl Rodriguez (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) will receive the Vera Rubin Early Career Prize.

Alessandra CellettiProfessor Alessandra Celletti is recognized and celebrated for her outstanding contributions to the advancement of Kolmogorov-Arnold-Moser (KAM) theory and to the study of regular and chaotic dynamics of Earth’s satellites and space debris.

Professor Celletti has significantly contributed to the development and the analysis of mathematical models describing different problems in celestial mechanics and dynamical astronomy, including rotational dynamics, 3-body problems, Lagrangian equilibrium configurations, resonances, orbit determination, low-energy trajectories, and space debris dynamics. She has contributed to making KAM not only a theoretically interesting area but also an applied area, embodied in her influential textbook Stability and Chaos in Celestial Mechanics. Her work has encompassed dynamics of almost all bodies of the solar system, from Mercury, the Moon, asteroids, and Trojans, to the satellites of the outer planets. It is extraordinary to have a person who combines theoretical methods, modeling, and computational techniques into such an influential and effective career. [Complete citation on DDA website]

Carl RodriguezDr. Carl Rodriguez is recognized for his novel and sustained contributions to our understanding of dynamics of stars in dense stellar systems, as well as his pioneering considerations of dynamical scenarios for gravitational wave sources originating from globular clusters.

The detection of gravitational wave signals by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in 2015 opened up an entirely new area of observational astrophysics with the potential to advance fundamental physics and constrain basic parameters of compact object mergers. While it has been known that merging compact binaries can be formed dynamically in the dense cores of old globular clusters, Dr. Rodriguez's N-body gravitational modeling of mergers within dense star clusters made clear predictions for their rates and physical properties. His work correctly predicted that LIGO’s first gravitational-wave detections would be from merging binary black holes more massive than the black holes observed through X-ray observations in our own galaxy, thus establishing dynamical processes as one of the leading formation mechanisms of merging black holes. [Complete citation on the DDA website]

Both Celletti and Rodriguez will be invited to give lectures at the 55th annual DDA meeting, to be held in the spring of 2024.

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