AAS Names 22 New Fellows for 2023
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The American Astronomical Society (AAS), a major international organization of professional astronomers, astronomy educators, and amateur astronomers, is honoring 22 members for extraordinary achievement and service by naming them AAS Fellows. They are being recognized for original research and publications, innovative contributions to astronomical techniques or instrumentation, significant contributions to education and public outreach, and noteworthy service to astronomy and to the Society itself. Fellows receive a certificate and a lapel pin.
AAS Fellows Class of 2023
- Marcel Agüeros (Columbia University): For the combined impact of his innovative observational work on the rotational, magnetic, and related properties of low-mass main-sequence stars, and for his deep commitment to increasing the diversity of the astronomical community.
- Alice Allen (University of Maryland; Astrophysics Source Code Library): For her great insight, deep knowledge, leading advocacy, and inspiring achievements involving open-source astronomy software; for making astronomy more efficient by creating avenues to release and cite research software; and for building, editing, and promoting the Astrophysics Source Code Library, a pioneering code repository that now registers more than 3,000 of the most useful codes in astronomy and astrophysics.
- Gibor Basri (University of California, Berkeley): For sustained contributions in the areas of accretion onto T Tauri stars, studies of stellar rotation and activity, direct detection of stellar magnetic fields, discovery and pioneering work on brown dwarfs and lithium dating, and service to the AAS as the founding chair of the Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy and co-chair of the 2018 Task Force on Diversity in Graduate Education.
- Karen Bjorkman (University of Toledo): For important contributions to the study of Be stars and applications of astronomical polarimetry; strong leadership in education and in public outreach especially through Universe in the Park; a dedicated commitment to increasing diversity in astrophysics; and notable service to the astronomical community and her university.
- Geoffrey A. Blake (California Institute of Technology): For his fundamental contributions to observational studies of the chemistry of the interstellar medium, star-forming regions, disks, comets, and exoplanetary atmospheres; for pioneering advances in laboratory astrophysics; and for long-standing efforts to build inclusive ties between these communities.
- Tereasa Brainerd (Boston University): For pioneering work in the use of weak gravitational lensing to measure the structure of individual galaxies; significant service to the Society in committee roles and on the Board of Trustees; and leading the Institute for Astrophysical Research and the Department of Astronomy at Boston University to a significant expansion in research in observational astronomy.
- Paul D. Feldman* (Johns Hopkins University): For pioneering ultraviolet spectroscopic investigations of diverse astronomical sources using a variety of ground- and space-based platforms, and for more than four decades of mentorship and service to the planetary science community.
- Jonathan Gardner (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center): For exceptional community service and scientific leadership of the JWST science teams in his role as Deputy Senior Project Scientist, leading to flight hardware exceeding all requirements.
- Andrew I. Harris (University of Maryland): For the development of innovative radio-, millimeter-, and submillimeter-wavelength instrumentation, and for insightful studies of the star-forming interstellar medium in our galaxy and in galaxies across cosmic time.
- Lee Hartmann (University of Michigan): For pioneering work in characterizing the physics of molecular clouds, young stars, and planet formation, and for extensive service and leadership within the AAS and the broader astronomical community.
- Elizabeth Lada (University of Florida): For pioneering the use of infrared array detectors to push ground-based infrared imaging limits and survey giant molecular clouds for obscured populations of young stars; for transformative work on a broad range of problems in star formation including constraining the initial mass function within giant molecular clouds and performing the first robust measurements of the frequency and lifetimes of circumstellar disks in young clusters; and for extensive service to the astronomical community as a member of many boards and committees.
- James Lattimer (Stony Brook University): For original and seminal contributions to the nuclear astrophysics subjects of neutron star structure and evolution including helping to develop the first detailed simulations of proto-neutron stars and their neutrino emissions, as well as the first open-source equation-of-state code and tables suitable for high-performance numerical simulations.
- Claus Leitherer (Space Telescope Science Institute): For his significant contribution to the understanding of massive stars in star-forming galaxies by providing numerical models and spectral templates to the astronomical community, advancing our understanding of the observed properties of nearby galaxies and the expected properties of distant galaxies; for incorporating innovative stellar atmospheres into population synthesis models, enhancing our understanding the far-ultraviolet radiation field of star clusters and galaxies; and for considerable service to the community.
- Jeffrey Linsky (University of Colorado): For decades of innovative studies of the heliosphere and the local interstellar medium; for his models of stellar chromospheres; for productive observing programs on multiple satellites; for establishing the deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio in the local disk, among other scientific contributions; and for his decades of service to the astronomical community.
- Makenzie Lystrup (Ball Aerospace): For her guidance, influence, and technical leadership that contributed to multiple missions and instruments, including the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer mission and the Wide Field Instrument for the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope; for her years of service to the AAS, particularly on the Committee for Astronomy and Public Policy; and for her service to the broader science and aerospace communities.
- Antonella Nota (International Space Science Institute, Bern; European Space Agency, Retired; Space Telescope Science Institute): For extraordinary scientific leadership and service to the international astronomy community, facilitating a key partnership between NASA and the European Space Agency, and for inspiring and engaging the public with the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope.
- Bharat Ratra (Kansas State University): For pioneering research in cosmology and particle astrophysics leading to the development of dynamical dark energy models and for sustained commitments to science education, undergraduate research, and science popularization at all levels.
- Joan Schmelz (Universities Space Research Association): For her significant record of service and leadership within AAS, including Vice President of AAS, chair of the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy, and editor of the AASWOMEN newsletter and STATUS magazine; and for her work as an advocate, fighting sexual harassment in astronomy and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM.
- Nicholas Suntzeff (Texas A&M University): For his transformational leadership in the foundation of supernova cosmology, the discovery of the accelerated expansion of the universe, and precision measurements of the Hubble–Lemaître flow; for his service to the national and international astronomical communities; for considerable efforts on behalf of human rights, especially the LGBTQ community, both within astronomy and globally; and for establishing the astronomy program at Texas A&M University.
- David Weintraub (Vanderbilt University): For his groundbreaking, multifrequency studies of the disks around young stars and his demonstration that most planetary nebulae are bipolar in structure, as well as for his work in communicating astronomy to the public and training others to do so.
- Gillian Wilson (University of California, Merced): For pioneering innovative techniques and significant contributions to interpreting the fundamental physics of galaxy clusters, massive galaxies, and cosmology; and for exceptional leadership in research administration, broadening participation, and outreach.
- Edward Wright (University of California, Los Angeles): For key contributions to the experimental design and data analysis for the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite, and for scientific leadership as the principal investigator of the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission.
The inaugural class of AAS Fellows was named in 2020; those Legacy Fellows included more than 200 Society members, including past recipients of certain awards from the AAS or its topical Divisions, distinguished AAS elected leaders and volunteer committee members, and previously unrecognized individuals with long histories of outstanding research, teaching, mentoring, and service.
“It is a joy to celebrate the dedication and accomplishments of these extraordinary members of our community,” says AAS President Kelsey Johnson (University of Virginia). “We are so fortunate to have colleagues and role models who have invested so deeply in moving astrophysics forward.”
The 2023 AAS Fellows now represent the fourth class recognized for enhancing and sharing humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe through personal achievement and extraordinary service to the astronomical sciences and to the AAS.
For more information, see the AAS Fellows page, the AAS Fellows FAQ page, and the inaugural Fellows class press release.
Nominations for the AAS Fellows class of 2024 will open shortly and will be due on 30 June 2023.
* The AAS Fellows Selection Committee was saddened to learn of the death of Paul Feldman after his nomination. Given the circumstances, the Board of Trustees voted to proceed with Dr. Feldman’s recognition posthumously.
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.