14 August 2019

Rick Fienberg Receives the Walter Scott Houston Award

Hua Liu

Hua Liu, American Astronomical Society (AAS)

On 3 August 2019, at the annual Stellafane amateur telescope makers convention in Springfield, Vermont, AAS Press Officer Rick Fienberg was honored with the Walter Scott Houston Award. The award is given by the North East Region of the Astronomical League (NERAL), a confederation of astronomy clubs throughout the United States. It recognizes a lifetime of achievement and support for the amateur astronomy community and commemorates "Scotty" Houston (1912−1993), a longtime Stellafane attendee and author of the popular Deep-Sky Wonders column in Sky & Telescope (S&T) for nearly 50 years.

Alan Rifkin and Rick Fienberg
Alan Rifkin (left) presents the Walter Scott Houston Award to Rick Fienberg. Photo: Ken Slater.

The award citation, which you can read on the NERAL website, mentions Fienberg's eight years as S&T's editor in chief, his role in creating the Galileoscope educational telescope kit for the International Year of Astronomy, and his work popularizing astronomy via the AAS Press Office. It doesn't mention his role in helping to bring S&T to the AAS in the wake of the bankruptcy of the magazine's former owner, F+W Media. But NERAL chair Alan Rifkin, who presented the award, told Fienberg that upon hearing of the Society's rescue of S&T he and his colleagues at NERAL knew right away who they wanted to honor with the Houston award this year.