1 September 2022

ASP Announces 2022 Award Recipients

Susanna Kohler

Susanna Kohler 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 2022 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

Established by Catherine Wolfe Bruce, an American philanthropist and patroness of astronomy, the ASP's highest award is given annually to a professional astronomer in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding achievement and contributions to astrophysics research. The medal has gone to some of the greatest astronomers of the past century and was first awarded in 1898 to Simon Newcomb, co-founder and first President of the AAS. The 2022 recipient is Dr. Ellen Gould Zweibel (University of Wisconsin-Madison), who is recognized for her contributions to the understanding of astrophysical plasmas, especially those associated with the Sun, stars, galaxies, and galactic clusters. Zweibel has also made major contributions in linking plasma characteristics and behaviors observed in laboratories to astrophysical plasma phenomena occurring in the universe.

Arthur B. C. Walker II Award

The Arthur B. C. Walker II Award is presented to an outstanding African American (or member of the African diaspora) who works in the astronomical sciences as a recognized leader in efforts to diversify the scientific community. The 2022 recipient is Dr. Jedidah C. Isler, Principal Assistant Director for STEM Opportunity & Engagement at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, where she currently leads the Science & Society division. Isler was formerly an Assistant Professor of Astrophysics at Dartmouth College where she studied hyperactive, supermassive black holes. Her research explores the physics of blazars — supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies that create particle jets moving at nearly the speed of light.

Robert J. Trumpler Award

The Robert J. Trumpler Award is given each year to a recent recipient of the PhD degree in North America whose research is considered unusually important to astronomy. This year's recipient is Dr. Ariadna Murguia-Berthier, who completed her doctorate in astronomy at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2021. Her dissertation, "Binary Neutron Star Mergers," was integral in interpreting and analyzing one of the most important recent astrophysical events — the first detection of both gravitation waves and electromagnetic radiation coming from the same astronomical object. One nominator described Murguia-Berthier as "among the best and most internationally recognized recently graduated PhD students working in high-energy astrophysics."

Klumpke-Roberts Award

The ASP bestows the Klumpke-Roberts Award on those who have made outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy. Past awardees include Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Chesley Bonestell, Timothy Ferris, Walter Sullivan, Heidi Hammel, and the staffs of Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazines. The 2022 recipient is Suzanne Gurton, Director of Education and Public Outreach at National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Her dedication to public outreach has spanned almost 40 years of leading, organizing, developing, and training educators for astronomy outreach programs that have become permanent fixtures in the outreach community, lasting long beyond her involvement.

Gordon Myers Amateur Achievement Award

The Gordon Myers Amateur Achievement Award recognizes significant observational or technological contributions to astronomy by an individual not employed in a professional capacity. The 2022 recipient is Paul D. Maley, who has demonstrated an extraordinary record of accomplishment for an amateur astronomer, contributing serious, professional-quality work at the highest levels. Maley's contributions include extensive observations and documentation of sky phenomena like artificial earth satellites, spacecraft reentries, and asteroids.

Richard H. Emmons Award

Dr. Jeanne Bishop, a well-known astronomy educator, wished to honor her father, an astronomer with a lifelong dedication to astronomy education, by creating an award that recognizes and celebrates outstanding achievement in the teaching of college-level introductory astronomy for non-science majors. The 2022 recipient of the Richard H. Emmonds Award is Prof. George Greenstein, Sidney Dillon Professor of Astronomy, Amherst College, Emeritus, for his innovative methods of mentoring students and other educators. Greenstein is also honored for his unconventional textbook, "Understanding the Universe: An Inquiry Approach to Astronomy and the Nature of Scientific Research," and other writings that explain astronomical developments and ways of thinking.

Las Cumbres Amateur Outreach Award

Established by Wayne Rosing and Dorothy Largay, the Las Cumbres Amateur Outreach Award honors outstanding educational outreach by an amateur astronomer to K–12 children and the interested lay public. The 2022 award recipient is Billy Hix, member of the Von Braun Astronomical Society in Huntsville, Alabama, and founder/director of the Motlow College Foundation STEM Outreach Program in Tennessee. Hix is honored for his extensive and dedicated volunteer time introducing teachers and schoolchildren to the night sky through his home observatory and portable planetariums.

The ASP's 2022 award winners will receive their prizes at the ASP Awards Gala (ceremony and banquet) on 19 November 2022 in Burlingame, California. Congratulations, all!