31 May 2022

AAS Names Additional Recipients of 2022 Awards & Prizes


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The American Astronomical Society (AAS), a major international organization of professional astronomers, announced the recipients for the remainder of its 2022 prizes for outstanding achievements in research and education, adding to the ones announced in January.

The 2022 Annie Jump Cannon Award in Astronomy, celebrating outstanding research and promise for future research by a postdoctoral woman researcher, is awarded to Eve Lee (McGill University) for her illuminating work on the formation of stars, debris disks, and planets. The Award’s selection committee pronounced that “Dr. Lee’s piercing insight, curiosity, and ability to distill complex processes into key concepts have enabled her to make pioneering strides in understanding the formation of planetary systems.”

The Newton Lacy Pierce Prize in Astronomy is awarded annually for outstanding achievement in observational astronomical research over the preceding five years. It is given to an astronomer who has not attained 36 years of age in the year designated for the award. For 2022, the prize goes to Erin Kara (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) for her innovative and sustained contributions to high-energy astrophysics. Dr. Kara’s pioneering work includes high-impact studies of the plasma around black hole systems and the first detection of X-ray reverberations in a tidal disruption event — high-energy echoes that can help us to better understand what happens when a star is torn apart by a black hole.

The George Van Biesbroeck Prize honors a living individual for long-term extraordinary or unselfish service to astronomy, often beyond the requirements of their paid position. Donald York (University of Chicago) is the 2022 recipient for exceptional vision in the conception and design of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), a major imaging and spectroscopic survey that has created the most detailed three-dimensional maps of the universe ever made. Dr. York, the founding director of SDSS, is recognized for his tireless leadership and selfless dedication to carrying out the survey, thereby creating one of the most important and transformational facilities in astronomy.

The Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation is awarded for the design, invention, or significant improvement of instrumentation leading to advances in astronomy. It was not awarded in 2021; instead, two winners have been selected for 2022. Michael Lesser (University of Arizona) receives the 2022 Weber Award for innovative and foundational work on methods of thinning, coating, and reading out large-format back-side illuminated CCD detectors. This work has led to significant improvements in performance, and the methods are used by virtually all CCD detectors in astronomical instruments working from optical through X-ray wavelengths. Peter Wizinowich (W.M. Keck Observatory) receives the 2022 Weber Award for pioneering work on the Keck adaptive optics systems. These systems have set the standard for the performance of adaptive optics systems on telescopes in the 8–10-meter class and transformed an experimental technology into a very productive user capability that has enabled dramatic new scientific discoveries.

5 additional 2022 AAS prizewinners shown in photos: two women and three men
Left to right: Eve Lee, Erin Kara, Donald York, Michael Lesser, and Peter Wizinowich.

AAS Division Prizes

Most of the AAS’s six subject-specific divisions also award prizes, and four of them — the High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD), the Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD), the Division on Dynamical Astronomy (DDA), and the Solar Physics Division (SPD) — have announced additional 2022 awardees since the start of the year.

HEAD’s 2022 Bruno Rossi Prize, which recognizes a significant contribution to high-energy astrophysics, with particular emphasis on recent and original work, goes to Keith Gendreau and Zaven Arzoumanian (both of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) and the NICER team for development of the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) and the revolutionary insights it is providing about the extreme environments of neutron stars and black holes, including the first precise and reliable measurement of a pulsar’s mass and radius from detailed modeling of its pulsed waveform. The 2022 David N. Schramm Award for high-energy astrophysics science journalism has been awarded to Camille Carlisle for an article that appeared in Sky & Telescope magazine.

LAD’s 2022 Dissertation Prize was awarded to Steve Bromley (Auburn University) for his groundbreaking laboratory measurements on the spectra of Au I and Au II, generating critical data for our understanding of heavy metal formation in neutron star mergers, as described in his doctoral thesis completed at Clemson University.

DDA has awarded the 2022 Dirk Brouwer Career Award for outstanding contributions to the field to Harold Levison (Southwest Research Institute) for his longstanding, important work on the dynamical evolution of small bodies in our solar system. Kathryn Volk (University of Arizona) will receive the 2022 Vera Rubin Early Career Prize for her work on both the dynamics of small bodies beyond Neptune and the long-term dynamics and stability of tightly packed exoplanetary systems.

SPD has announced the winners of its 2022 Popular Media Awards, which recognize authors of popular articles or new media about the Sun or the effects of the Sun on Earth's environment. The 2022 awards go to Colin Stuart, for an article published in Sky & Telescope magazine; and Mara Johnson-Groh and Joy Ng, for an article and accompanying video published on nasa.gov and YouTube.


Susanna Kohler, Editor, AAS Nova
Susanna Kohler
AAS Communications Manager & Press Officer
+1 202-328-2010 x127

Images of the AAS prizewinners are available from Crystal Tinch, AAS Communications & Engagement Coordinator.

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), established in 1899, is a major international organization of professional astronomers, astronomy educators, and amateur astronomers. Its membership of approximately 8,000 also includes physicists, geologists, engineers, and others whose interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising the astronomical sciences. The mission of the AAS is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe as a diverse and inclusive astronomical community, which it achieves through publishing, meetings, science advocacy, education and outreach, and training and professional development.

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