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2017 National Academy of Sciences Awards

In late January, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) announced the recipients of its 2017 awards. The winners will receive their prizes during the Academy’s 154th annual meeting on 30 April.

Several scientists were selected for their work in Earth and space sciences. These include American Geophysical Union (AGU) members Mats Carlsson and Viggo H. Hansteen, both of the University of Oslo, who will receive the Arctowski Medal for their leadership in developing the Bifrost numerical model of the solar atmosphere. The Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship will honor AGU member Susan Solomon of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for her longtime work on atmospheric chemistry and climate change, including her studies of chlorofluorocarbons and the ozone hole over Antarctica. Solomon also received AGU’s William Bowie Medal (2007) and James B. Macelwane Medal (1985).

Other awardees include Jane Lubchenco of Oregon State University and Jerome H. Milgram of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Lubchenco will receive the Public Welfare Medal for her work on the relationships between the environment and human well-being, and Milgram will be given the Gibbs Brothers Medal for engineering technology for safer naval craft and cleanup of oceanic oil spills.

American Astronomical Society 2017 Award Recipients

In the first week of January, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) announced the recipients of its 2017 prizes, honoring scientists for their achievements in research, instrument development, and education.

Eric Becklin of the University of California, Los Angeles, received the Henry Norris Russell Lectureship for his diverse discoveries using infrared observations. Lars Bildsten of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics and the University of California, Santa Barbara, received the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics for his theoretical modeling of stars. The Heineman Prize is funded by the Heineman Foundation and awarded jointly by AAS and the American Institute of Physics.

The Annie Jump Cannon Award went to Rebekah Dawson of the Pennsylvania State University for her work on the dynamics of exoplanet systems. Charlie Conroy of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics received the Helen B. Warner Prize for his work modeling stellar populations and galaxy evolution. The Newton Lacy Pierce Prize was awarded to Evan Kirby of the California Institute of Technology for his research on chemical abundances of stars in dwarf galaxies.

Ian S. McLean of the University of California, Los Angeles, received the Joseph Weber Award for Astronomical Instrumentation in recognition of his pioneering work on advanced infrared sensor arrays. Finally, The AAS Education Prize honored Hernán Quintana of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Quintana has been working for more than 3 decades to bring astronomy education programs into Chilean universities.

AAS Division Prizes

Three of the six subject-specific divisions of AAS have announced some of their 2017 award recipients.

The Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD) recognized James E. “Jim” Lawler of the University of Wisconsin–Madison with the Laboratory Astrophysics Prize for his longtime work in atomic physics and stellar chemistry. Carolyn Kuranz of the University of Michigan received the LAD Early Career Award for her laboratory experiments on processes relevant to astrophysical dynamics.

The Solar Physics Division (SPD) awarded the George Ellery Hale Prize to Manfred Schüssler of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research for his work on the theory of the solar dynamo and other contributions to the field of solar astronomy. SPD’s Karen Harvey Prize went to Chun Ming “Mark” Cheung of Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory for his contributions to the study of the Sun and his mentoring of young researchers.

The High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) recognized Gabriela Gonzalez of Louisiana State University and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration with the Bruno Rossi Prize for their significant contributions to gravitational wave astronomy.

Buchalter Cosmology Prize

Nima Khosravi of Shahid Beheshti University and the Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences received the Buchalter Cosmology Prize First Prize award. The Second Prize went to Elliot Nelson of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. The Third Prize recognized the team of Cliff Burgess of McMaster University, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and the European Organization for Nuclear Research; Richard Holman of Carnegie Mellon University; Gianmassimo Tasinato of the University of Portsmouth; and Matthew Williams of McMaster University and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

In early January, President Obama presented 102 scientists and engineers with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The award honors early-career scientists who show exceptional potential to advance science. Recipients are chosen on the basis of their pursuit of innovative and pioneering research and their demonstrated dedication to community service and outreach. The National Science Foundation nominated 19 of these awardees, including AGU member Aradhna Tripati of the University of California, Los Angeles. Find the full list of recipients here.

Geological Society of Washington 2017 Officers

The Geological Society of Washington announced its officers for 2017. Callan Bentley of Northern Virginia Community College is the new president. Karen Prestegaard of the University of Maryland is first vice president, and independent scholar Carl-Henry Geschwind is second vice president. Odette James (U.S. Geological Survey, retired) and Pat Carr of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency are continuing as treasurer and council secretary, respectively. The new meetings secretary is Nik Deems of the Catholic University of America, and past president is Jamie Allan of the National Science Foundation. Other new council members include Michael Toomey, Larry Meinert, and Jessica Rodysill, all of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Hamaguchi Award

In honor of World Tsunami Awareness Day on 5 November 2016, the Japanese government instituted the Hamaguchi Award for Enhancement of Tsunami/Coastal Disaster Resilience. The award is named for Goryo Hamaguchi, a hero of the 1854 tsunami that hit the Japanese Kii Peninsula. Hamaguchi guided village people away from danger by setting fire to the rice straw in his own inland fields to draw the villagers away from the beach.

The award ceremony, held on 31 October, honored three recipients: Nobuo Shuto of Nihon University; Eddie Bernard, former director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory; and the National Office of Emergency of the Interior Ministry, Chile. A selection committee chose awardees on the basis of their scientific or pragmatic contributions to coastal resilience against coastal disasters. The International Promotion Committee for Tsunami/Coastal Disaster Resilience Technology organized the ceremony.


(2017), Honoring Earth and space scientists, Eos, 98, Published on 13 February 2017.

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