Two high school students from Texas and Louisiana are the winners of the 2012 Priscilla and Bart Bok Awards for their astronomy projects presented at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in May. The awards were presented on May 18 by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) in partnership with the American Astronomical Society (AAS), supported by funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The first prize of $1,000 went to Piper Michelle Reid of Dripping Springs High School, Dripping Springs, Texas, for her project, “Photometric and Spectroscopic Analysis for the Determination of Physical Parameters of an Eclipsing Binary Star System.” The project explores how, with careful use of consumer grade astronomical equipment, it is possible for an amateur astronomer to determine an array of physical characteristics of a distant binary star system from a suburban setting. She used a CCD camera, home-built spectroscope, tracking mount, and telescope to carefully collect photometric and spectroscopic data, then analyzed the data and calculated physical properties for the binary star systems BB Pegasi and 57 Cygni.
The second prize of $500 went to Henry Wanjune Lin of Caddo Parish Magnet High School, Shreveport, Louisiana, for his project, “A Generalized Holographic Model of Cosmic Accelerated Expansion,” which explores how holographic models naturally account for the observed cosmic accelerated expansion. Astronomers are attempting to understand the acceleration of the universe, which is attributed to dark energy: the discovery of the phenomenon of dark energy was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 2011. Henry’s project is an attempt to model the possible ways that dark energy can be represented to explain the observed expansion.
Full Story: http://aas.org/press/pr2012Jun22
The Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is pleased to announce the 2012 prize winners.
Full Story: http://dps.aas.org/prizes
Exciting new findings about everything from our solar system to the most remote galaxies in the universe will be featured in six press conferences at the 220th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in downtown Anchorage, Alaska, 10-14 June 2012, at the Dena’ina and William A. Egan Civic & Convention Centers. Nearly 1,200 astronomers, educators, students, and journalists are registered to attend, making this one of the biggest summer meetings in AAS history.
Meeting with the Society are its Solar Physics Division (SPD) and the newly formed Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD). Regular AAS science sessions run Monday-Thursday, June 11-14.
For Information: http://aas.org/meetings/aas220
The American Astronomical Society (AAS) today issued a statement thanking President Obama for his strong support of science as embodied in his proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 2013 but asking him and the Congress to strive harder to maintain a balance of small, medium, and large space missions in astronomy and astrophysics, planetary science, and solar physics. Some provisions of the President’s FY 2013 budget, especially a 20 percent cut in NASA’s planetary science funding, threaten to undermine the recommendations of recent decadal surveys of these fields by the National Academy of Sciences.
“It is challenging to receive a budget from the President that supports part of our discipline and undercuts another,” says AAS Executive Officer Dr. Kevin B. Marvel. “We will work throughout 2012 to encourage Congress to fully support all of the decadal surveys’ priorities.”
“We are grateful that the funding for the James Webb Space Telescope puts it on track for a launch in 2018,” adds AAS President Debra M. Elmegreen (Vassar College), “and we hope we can achieve a balance of large, medium, and small projects in solar physics, planetary science, and astronomy and astrophysics so that U.S. leadership in these fields can be sustained.”
Full Story: http://aas.org/press/pr2012Feb23
The American Institute of Physics (AIP) and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) are pleased to announce that renowned astrophysicist Chryssa Kouveliotou, Ph.D., has been selected as the 2012 recipient of the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics, which is given annually to recognize outstanding work in the field.
Her citation reads: “For her extensive accomplishments and discoveries in the areas of gamma ray bursts and their afterglows, soft gamma repeaters, and magnetars. Particularly notable are Dr. Kouveliotou’s abilities to create collaborations and her effectiveness and insights in using multiwavelength observations.”
The award will be presented at the American Astronomical Society’s 221st Meeting, January 2013, in Long Beach, Calif., at which Kouveliotou will give a plenary lecture.
At its 219th semiannual meeting last week in Austin, Texas, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) presented a certificate of appreciation commemorating Dr. Frank Kameny’s lifetime efforts to secure equal employment rights for all. In 1957 Dr. Kameny, a Ph.D. astronomer and member of the AAS, was unjustly fired from his position with the U.S. government because he was gay. His subsequent efforts to advance the cause of gay rights included organizing some of the first public protests for homosexual rights in America, running as the first openly gay candidate for Congress, and writing the first petition to the Supreme Court to argue that discrimination based on sexual orientation violates constitutional civil-rights protections.
Full Story: http://aas.org/press/pr2012Jan19
At its 219th semiannual meeting last week in Austin, Texas, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) named the recipients of its 2012 prizes for achievements in research, instrument development, education, and writing.
The Society’s prestigious Henry Norris Russell Lectureship goes to W. David Arnett (University of Arizona) “for a lifetime of seminal contributions to the fields of stellar explosions, nuclear astrophysics, and hydrodynamics.” Arnett has been a leader in developing our understanding of core-collapse processes and the fusion of new elements in massive stars. He has also done pioneering work on thermonuclear burning in white-dwarf stars and on the origin of Type Ia supernovae, which are at the center of contemporary observational cosmology.
The Newton Lacy Pierce Prize for outstanding achievement in observational research by an early-career astronomer goes to John A. Johnson (Caltech) “for major contributions to understanding fundamental relationships between extrasolar planets and their parent stars.” Johnson has found that planetary orbits can be tipped at a wide variety of angles with respect to their host stars’ spin axes. His work has also elucidated possible correlations between planet frequency and stellar mass and composition.
Full Story: http://aas.org/press/pr2012Jan18