Marc Aaronson Memorial Lectureship

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The Marc Aaronson Memorial Lectureship, also known as the Aaronson Prize, is an award of the University of Arizona Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory which promotes and recognizes excellence in astronomical research. It is named after astronomer Marc Aaronson, who died in 1987 in an accident while making astronomical observations. He was 36 years old.[1]

The lectureship and cash prize are awarded every eighteen months to an individual or group who, by his or her passion for research and dedication to excellence, has produced a body of work in observational astronomy which has resulted in a significant deepening of our understanding of the universe. Any living scientist is eligible for this award without consideration of race, sex, or nationality.[citation needed] Fourteen previous Aaronson Prize winners are returning to Tucson on Apr 3-4, 2017, for a scientific symposium[2] in Marc's honor.

Aaronson came to Steward Observatory as a postdoc after receiving his PhD degree from Harvard in 1977 and became an Associate Professor in 1983. His astronomical research focused on many of the most important problems of observational cosmology: the cosmic distance scale, the age of the Universe, the large-scale motion of matter, and the distribution of invisible mass in the Universe. Aaronson made important contributions to the understanding of stellar populations in the Large Magellanic Cloud. In recognition of his research achievements, Aaronson was awarded the George Van Biesbroeck Award by the University of Arizona in 1981, the Bart J. Bok Prize by Harvard University in 1983, and the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize by the American Astronomical Society in 1984.[citation needed]


Year Recipient Award Citation
1989 RobertKirshnerIMG 2728x.jpg Robert Kirshner[3] For studies of supernovae, supernova remnants, and the large-scale distribution of galaxies
1990 Ken Freeman in 2008.jpg Ken Freeman[4] TBD
1992 John Huchra[5] For surveys that led to the discovery of large-scale structure in the distribution of galaxies
1993 Nick Scoville TBD
1994 Wendy Freedman[6] For a decade of fundamental contributions to the areas of the extragalactic distance scale and the stellar populations of galaxies
1996 J. Anthony Tyson[7] In recognition of his use of new technologies to make pioneering contributions in observational cosmology
1998 John-C-Mather.jpg John C. Mather[8] For the conception, design, and execution of a seminal cosmological observation, the measurement of the infrared background with the COBE satellite
1999 Bohdan Paczyński.jpg Bohdan Paczyński[9] For his theories of gamma-ray bursts and for his work on microlensing
2001 Ewine van Dishoeck.JPG Ewine van Dishoeck For her comprehensive attack on the problem of chemical evolution of star-forming regions[10]
2002 Geoffrey Marcy.jpg Geoffrey Marcy For his pioneering work on low-mass stars, and for his discovery of more than fifty planets orbiting other stars[11]
2004 LymanPage1.JPG Lyman Page For his decade-long series of state-of-the-art experiments aimed at the discovery and characterization of degree-scale temperature anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background radiation[12]
2005 Brian Schmidt portrait 1.jpg Brian P. Schmidt For using observations of Type Ia supernovae to discover that the Universe's expansion is accelerating[13]
2007 Andrea Ghez For her use of speckle and AO and IR imaging to further our understanding of the dark object in the Galactic Center (the supermassive black hole) and for her work on star formation and evolution of pre-main-sequence objects[14]
2008 Michael E Brown 1.jpg Mike Brown For his outstanding research and lasting contribution to astronomy through the characterization of the outer solar system and the discovery of objects comparable to Pluto[15][16]
2010 J Davy Kirkpatrick.jpg J. Davy Kirkpatrick For his outstanding research and lasting contribution to astronomy through the discovery and characterization of the lowest mass stars and brown dwarfs[17]
2012 Pieter van Dokkum For his studies of the evolution of the most massive galaxies over cosmic time
2014 Alice Shapley For her contributions to the study of how galaxies form in the early universe
2015 Vasily Belokurov For his discoveries of structures in the Milky Way through data-mining of large surveys