18 December 2009

Distinguished Astronomers Elected as AAAS Fellows

AAS Press Release

December 18, 2009

Rick Fienberg
AAS Press Officer
+1 202-328-2010 x116

Molly McElroy
AAAS Senior Communications Officer
+1 202-326-6434

Eleven members of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), including its Executive Officer, Kevin B. Marvel, have been awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

This year 531 AAAS members have been awarded this honor by the AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New Fellows are being announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of today’s issue of the journal Science. They will be presented with an official certificate and a rosette pin on Saturday, February 20, 2010, from 8 to 10 a.m. PST at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2010 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Diego, California.

Here are the citations for the AAS members newly elected as AAAS Fellows:

  • James M. Cordes, Cornell University: For his contributions to the astronomical community, making his mark as an observer of radio pulsars to understand pulsar physics, wave propagation in high-energy plasmas, and using pulsar observations to probe the interstellar medium in the Galaxy.
  • Eileen D. Friel, Lowell Observatory: For distinguished service to the astronomical community as Executive Officer of the Astronomical Section at the National Science Foundation (NSF), and for diligently mentoring many young scientists in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program.
  • Philip R. Goode, Big Bear Solar Observatory: For pathbreaking research in helioseismology and climate; and building the world’s most capable solar telescope and the country’s largest academic solar physics program.
  • Alyssa A. Goodman, Harvard University: For distinguished contributions to the field of star formation, particularly the physics of molecular cloud cores, and for fostering the public engagement in astronomical science.
  • Christopher Impey, University of Arizona: For distinguished contributions to astronomy education, research, and outreach.
  • Mario Livio, Space Telescope Science Institute: For distinguished contributions to astrophysics through research on stars and galaxies and through communicating and interpreting science and mathematics to the public.
  • Kevin Marvel, American Astronomical Society: For outstanding service to the American astronomical community as Executive Officer of American Astronomical Society and for ongoing efforts to strengthen the alliance between the AAS and the AAAS.
  • Ramesh Narayan, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics: For distinguished contributions to the field of theoretical astrophysics, particularly for understanding accretion disks around black holes.
  • Patrick S. Osmer, Ohio State University: For pioneering searches for quasars that established their rapid evolution with cosmic time and for enormous leadership contributions to observational astronomy in the United States.
  • Saeqa Dil Vrtilek, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO): For extraordinary service to the AAAS Section on Astronomy as its secretary, for dedicated efforts in public outreach, and for research on disk accretion and X-ray binaries.
  • David H. Weinberg, Ohio State University: For distinguished contributions to the field of cosmology, particularly our understanding of dark matter and its role in formation of galaxies and other gaseous structures.

Marvel, who has run the AAS Executive Office since 2006, said, “I’m delighted to be chosen as one of this year’s AAAS Fellows, but I’m even more delighted to be in such illustrious company! Astronomers represent only a small fraction of the AAAS membership, but as the International Year of Astronomy 2009 has shown, our contribution to the advancement of science — and in particular to the public’s appreciation of science — is second to none.”

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the Association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee’s institution), or by the AAAS Chief Executive Officer.

Each steering group then reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section, and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list.

The Council is the policymaking body of the Association, chaired by the AAAS president, and consisting of the members of the board of directors, the retiring section chairs, delegates from each electorate and each regional division, and two delegates from the National Association of Academies of Science.

# # #

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), established in 1899 and based in Washington, DC, is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. Its membership of about 7,700 also includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers, and others whose research interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising contemporary astronomy. The mission of the AAS is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe. Among its many activities, the AAS publishes three of the leading peer-reviewed journals in the field: The Astrophysical Journal, The Astronomical Journal, and Astronomy Education Review.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. The AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and more.