2 February 2022

AAS Names Recipients of 2022 Awards & Prizes


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

The 2022 Henry Norris Russell Lectureship, celebrating a career of eminence in astronomical research, goes to Richard Mushotzky (University of Maryland) for a lifetime of innovative X-ray and multiwavelength research, including foundational studies of the properties of active galactic nuclei and the composition and structures of hot gas in clusters of galaxies. His highly productive career also included co-invention of the X-ray calorimeter, a device used to detect and measure the energy of X-ray photons, revealing detailed information about energetic astrophysical phenomena in our universe. Mushotzky will present the Russell Lecture at the January 2023 AAS meeting in Seattle, Washington; the 2021 Russell Lecturer, Nicholas Scoville, will give his talk at the June 2022 AAS meeting in Pasadena, California.

The Dannie Heineman Prize for outstanding mid-career work in astrophysics is given jointly by the AAS and the American Institute of Physics. For 2022, the prize goes to Norman Murray (Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics, University of Toronto) for his deep theoretical insight into an exceptionally broad range of astrophysical phenomena, including the dynamics of planetary systems, accretion disk winds in active galactic nuclei, and star formation and feedback in galaxies.

The AAS Education Prize recognizes outstanding contributions to the education of the public, students, and/or the next generation of professional astronomers. For 2022 the recipient is Alex Filippenko (University of California, Berkeley), for his passionate and wildly popular teaching of non-science majors; his mentoring of hundreds of teaching assistants and undergraduate research students; his dedication to public education through lectures, TV documentaries, and video courses; his textbook and other popular writings; and his leadership in saving Lick Observatory, a prominent California observatory that faced defunding in 2014.

5 photos in a row: three men, one woman, and one radio telescope.
Left to right: Richard Mushotzky, Norman Murray, Alex Filippenko, Jane Greaves, and the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment detector used by the CHIME/FRB team.

Special Honors for the 239th AAS Meeting

The Society’s Vice Presidents select two special invited lecturers that traditionally bookend the AAS’s winter meeting: the Fred Kavli Plenary Lecturer and the Lancelot M. Berkeley–New York Community Trust Prize lecturer. Though the 239th AAS meeting was canceled due to coronavirus concerns, these special lectures were already awarded and the two honorees will instead present their invited lectures at the 240th AAS meeting in Pasadena, California.

For the 239th meeting, the Vice Presidents selected Jane Greaves (Cardiff University) to give the Fred Kavli Plenary Lecture, honoring her for her team’s unexpected discovery of phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus and its exciting implications for the possibility of life. Greaves has distinguished herself as a leader in the field of exoplanet habitability and its connections with life in our solar system as observed with far-infrared and submillimeter telescopes.

The Lancelot M. Berkeley–New York Community Trust Prize is awarded for highly meritorious work in advancing the science of astronomy. This year’s Berkeley Prize goes not to an individual, but to a team: the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment fast radio burst (CHIME/FRB) team. The annual Berkeley prize winner is chosen by the three AAS Vice Presidents, in consultation with the Editor in Chief of the AAS journals, to honor significant research published within the preceding 12 months. The CHIME/FRB team is being honored for its dramatic progress on understanding fast radio bursts — brief and powerful flashes of radio waves with enigmatic origins — using observations from the CHIME radio telescope in British Columbia.

AAS Division Prizes

Most of the AAS’s six subject-specific divisions also award prizes, and three of them — the High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD), the Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD), and the Solar Physics Division (SPD) — recently announced some of their 2022 awardees.

HEAD’s 2022 Innovation Prize, which recognizes development of foundational, innovative, or revolutionary instrumentation or software tools in high energy astrophysics, goes to Keith Arnaud (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; University of Maryland) for developing and maintaining XSPEC, a world-standard tool for analysis of spectra from X-ray and gamma-ray missions. The 2022 HEAD Early Career Prize is awarded to Laura Lopez (The Ohio State University) for her novel and sustained contributions to our understanding of supernova remnants and compact objects in the local universe, and the 2022 HEAD Mid-Career Prize goes to Brad Cenko (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) for outstanding leadership, discovery, and characterization of high-energy transient phenomena. HEAD also named three 2022 Dissertation Prize finalists for outstanding doctoral thesis work: Ariadna Murguia-Berthier (University of California, Santa Cruz), Jakob van den Eijnden (University of Amsterdam), and Kishalay De (California Institute of Technology).

LAD’s highest honor, the Laboratory Astrophysics Prize for significant contributions to laboratory astrophysics over an extended period of time, was awarded to Evelyne Roueff (Paris Observatory) this year in recognition of an outstanding career devoted to the theoretical investigation of the spectroscopic and collisional properties of molecules in astronomical environments. Kyle Crabtree (University of California, Davis) was selected to receive the 2022 LAD Early Career Award for his use of high-resolution spectroscopy to study reactive molecules of astrophysical interest.

Sami Solanki (Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research) is receiving SPD’s George Ellery Hale Prize, awarded for outstanding contributions to solar astronomy over an extended period of time, for his foundational studies of solar magnetism, its impact on the Sun–Earth system, and magnetic fields of other stars. SPD’s Karen Harvey Prize, which recognizes a significant contribution to the study of the Sun early in a person’s professional career, goes to Adam Kowalski (University of Colorado Boulder; National Solar Observatory) for his innovative research into stellar flares towards resolving long-standing problems relating to flares on both the Sun and other stars. Solanki and Kowalski will receive their prizes at the 53rd SPD meeting in Bellevue, Washington, in August 2022.

Buchalter Cosmology Prizes

Ari Buchalter (Place Exchange) is an astrophysicist-turned-entrepreneur who remains keenly interested in cosmology. In 2014 he endowed the Buchalter Cosmology Prizes to reward new ideas or discoveries that have the potential to produce breakthrough advances in our understanding of the origin, structure, and evolution of the universe beyond current standard cosmological models. The 2021 winners of the Buchalter prizes are as follows: The $10,000 First Prize goes to Karsten Jedamzik (University of Montpellier) and Levon Pogosian (Simon Fraser University; University of Portsmouth) for “Relieving the Hubble Tension with Primordial Magnetic Fields,” published in Physical Review Letters. Receiving the $5,000 Second Prize is Azadeh Maleknejad (CERN) for “SU(2)R and its Axion in Cosmology: A Common Origin for Inflation, Cold Sterile Neutrinos, and Baryogenesis,” published in Physical Review D. The $2,500 Third Prize goes to a five-member team led by Sunny Vagnozzi (University of Cambridge) and Luca Visinelli (Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare; Shanghai Jiao Tong University; University of Amsterdam) for “Direct Detection of Dark Energy: The XENON1T Excess and Future Prospects,” published in Physical Review D. For more information about these prizewinning articles, see the Buchalter Cosmology Prize website.


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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