27 September 2023

ASP Announces 2023 Award Recipients

Kerry Hensley

Kerry Hensley American Astronomical Society (AAS)

This post is adapted from a series of press releases and announcements on the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) website:

ASP Mercury LogoThe Astronomical Society of the Pacific, founded in 1889 (10 years before the AAS) and based in San Francisco, California, is an international nonprofit scientific and educational organization that works to increase understanding and appreciation of astronomy.

Each year the ASP recognizes individual achievements in astronomy research, technology, education, and public outreach. The 2023 award winners have just been announced. Here's a summary; follow the links to read more detailed information about each of the recipients.

Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal

The ASP is proud to announce the 2023 recipient of its most prestigious award, the Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal, honoring Marcia J. Rieke, Regents Professor of Astronomy and Elizabeth Roemer Endowed Chair, Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona and Principal Investigator on the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) for JWST. Rieke's research has focused on infrared observations of the center of the Milky Way and high redshift galaxies in the early universe. Rieke is considered by many to be one of the "founding mothers of infrared astronomy,” and it is for her groundbreaking contributions to astronomical research at these wavelengths that she is being recognized and celebrated.

Robert J. Trumpler Award

Presented to a recent recipient of a PhD degree whose research is considered unusually important to astronomy, the 2023 Robert J. Trumpler Award is presented to Deborah Lokhorst, who received her doctorate in astronomy from the University of Toronto. Lokhorst analyzed hydrodynamical simulations to calculate the observational limits needed to directly detect “invisible” gas in the medium surrounding nearby galaxies. Next, she designed, machined, and assembled a prototype for a new component of the Dragonfly Telephoto Array that could detect these gases at the observational limit. Named “the Filter-Tilter,” Lokhorst’s invention helped Dragonfly’s narrowband imager reveal what had been undetectable before — a giant ionized gas cloud surrounding the starburst galaxy Messier 82.

Klumpke–Roberts Award

Awarded to an individual or individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy, the Klumpke–Roberts Award for 2023 goes to Don McCarthy for his four decades of commitment and dedication to the field of astronomy, impacting the lives and careers of thousands of astronomy enthusiasts throughout his career, as well as bringing his leadership, humility, and determination as a model to emulate those whose lives he touched.

Gordon Myers Amateur Achievement Award

Recognizing significant observational or technological contributions to astronomy or amateur astronomy by an individual not employed in the field of astronomy in a professional capacity, the 2023 Gordon Myers Amateur Achievement Award goes to Dan Caselden for reshaping the understanding of what is possible in volunteer research. A Principal Software Engineer at Netskope by trade, Caselden is also a revered citizen scientist whose dedication to science research began in 2017 when he created an interactive browser tool to visualize data from any part of the sky using imaging from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and NEOWISE missions.

Nancy Grace Roman Award

Named for an icon in the history of astronomy research and space exploration, ASP’s Nancy Grace Roman Award was introduced this year to recognize an individual or group for significant contributions to promoting gender equity and inclusion in astronomy and related fields. The award celebrates the achievements of individuals, groups, or organizations working to encourage participation in astronomy and related fields by people traditionally or currently excluded from these fields because of their gender, including girls, women, and transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming people.

The inaugural recipient of the Nancy Grace Roman Award is Francesca Primas, Full Astronomer at the European Southern Observatory. Primas is a renowned observational astrophysicist studying the formation and evolution of the Milky Way and its satellite galaxies via their chemical histories. The Nancy Grace Roman Award recognizes her extensive commitment and contributions to the promotion of women in astronomy and against gender biases in science.

The ASP's 2023 award winners will receive their prizes on 11 November 2023 at the Grand Bay Hotel San Francisco in Redwood City, California. Congratulations, all!

Related Post