Astronomy Picture of the Day has been honored by the International Astronomical Union in the organization's inaugural round of outreach prizes. The website, created and run by Goddard’s Jerry Bonnell and Robert Nemiroff at Michigan Technological University, has served up daily astronomical images for 27 years, is available in 20 languages, and is seen by millions throughout the world. The award will be presented at the IAU General Assembly in Busan, South Korea, in August.
2021 Agency Honor Awards
NASA announced its 2021 Agency Honor Awards this week. Included are several ASD scientists. Caroline Kilbourne (662) and Joan Centrella (660/retired) have won the Distinguished Service Medal, the Agency’s highest award. Mike Corcoran (662/CUA) has won the Exceptional Public Service Medal. Tom Barclay (667/UMBC) was awarded the Early Career Achievement Medal. Knicole Colon (667), Floyd Stecker (663), Eliahu Dwek (665/retired), and Eleonora Troja (661/UMCP) have won the Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal. The XRISM Resolve Dewar Leak Investigation Team won a Group Achievement Award. Congratulations to all!
Congratulations to Keith Arnaud, Awarded the 2022 HEAD Innovation Prize
The HEAD Innovation Prize recognizes the development of foundational, innovative and/or revolutionary instrumentation or software tools that have led to groundbreaking results in high-energy astrophysics. The 2022 Innovation Prize has been awarded to Dr. Keith Arnaud (GSFC and the University of Maryland) “for continuous innovation in developing and maintaining XSPEC, the X-ray spectral fitting package, which has become the world standard for analysis of spectra from X-ray and Gamma-ray missions.”
Congratulations to the Robert H. Goddard Award Winners from ASD
Congratulations to ASD staff who were announced this past week as winners of the Robert H. Goddard awards. Individual winners include Knicole Colón for mentoring and Barbara Mattson for outreach. Keith Gendreau was selected for the Award of Merit. The JWST NIRSpec IRS2 Algorithm Team was named a winner of the RHG science award.
In "Our World as an Exoplanet," Padi Boyd, Emily Wilson, and Alan Smale are featured as they discuss their proposal to use a lunar-surface experiment suite called EarthShine to look at Earth as an exoplanet proxy - a representative of a habitable and inhabited planet we might find orbiting another star.
The Fellows program of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), the major organization of professional astronomers in North America, was established in 2019 to honor members for their contributions toward the AAS mission of enhancing and sharing humanity's scientific understanding of the universe. The following members of ASD were honored among the first group of AAS Fellows, announced Feb. 25:
Jean Hebb Swank
Note from the Director:
I would like to thank the Director’s Science Committee for putting on an amazingly successful event where scientists and engineers across Goddard shared their work and made new contacts. The interdisciplinary interactions were especially exciting and crossed all four science disciplines.
Click the title of this news item or the image below for more images from the poster party.
Congratulations to Charles Bennett, Gary Hinshaw, Norman Jarosik, Lyman Page Jr., David Spergel and the WMAP Science Team for winning the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics on Dec. 3! The citation reads: “For detailed maps of the early universe that greatly improved our knowledge of the evolution of the cosmos and the fluctuations that seeded the formation of galaxies.” The Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was founded in 2012 by Yuri Milner to recognize those individuals who have made profound contributions to human knowledge. The team also includes:
Ed Wollack, and
Congratulations to the many ASD members who were involved in the exciting gravitational wave and electromagnetic counterpart discovery of merging neutron stars, and the subsequent media activity around the discovery!
Scott Barthelmy - Gamma-ray Coordinates Network system
Eric Burns - Fermi gamma ray burst study
Jordan Camp – GSFC LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) PI
Brad Cenko - Swift PI
Tito Dal Canton - Gravitational wave localization maps; Virgo, joint LIGO/Virgo-Fermi-GBM study
Amy Lien - Swift follow up study
Julie McEnery - Fermi Project Scientist
Frank Marshall - Swift follow up study
Judy Racusin - Fermi gamma ray burst study, Swift follow-up study
Leo Singer - Gravitational wave localization maps, GROWTH follow-up study, joint LIGO/Virgo-Fermi-GBM study
Eleonora Troja - Chandra & HST follow-up, Swift follow-up study
Elizabeth Ferrara - Fermi social media
Barb Mattson - Traditional & social media coordination
Sara Mitchell - Social media coordination & content creation
Brian Monroe - Animator
Frank Reddy - Cross-organizational coordination & writer for nasa.gov press release
Claire Saravia - Live shots
Amber Straughn - ASD Associate Director
Dewayne Washington - HQ/GSFC coordination
Scott Wiessinger - Video & multimedia
ISS-TAO (Transient Astrophysics Observer on the ISS), a Mission of Opportunity proposal submitted to the 2016 Explorer opportunity, was selected for a Phase A study. ISS-TAO team members include PI Jordan Camp (663), Scott Barthelmy (661), Rob Petre (662), Judy Racusin (661), Brad Cenko (661), Frank Marshall (661), Jeremy Schnittman (663), Andy Ptak (662), and Amy Lien (661), Leo Singer (661), and Tod Strohmeyer (662). ISS-TAO is a wide-field X-ray transient detector aboard the International Space Station that would observe numerous events per year of X-ray transients related to compact objects. The mission’s primary goal is the detection of X-ray counterparts to gravitational waves produced by neutron stars merging with black holes and other neutron stars. Other targets would be supernova shocks, neutron star bursts, and high redshift gamma-ray bursts.
Rob Petre (662), Andy Ptak (662), Alan Smale (660), and Lynne Valencic (662) are co-Is on Arcus (PI Randall Smith, SAO), selected as a concept study for a Medium-Class Explorer mission. Arcus would study stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies using high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy to characterize the interactions between these objects and the diffuse million-degrees gas that surrounds and permeates them.
Alan Smale (660) and Terri Brandt (661) are collaborators on COSI-X (PI Steve Boggs/UCB), selected as a concept study for an Explorer Mission of Opportunity. COSI-X is a balloon-borne, wide-field-of-view telescope designed to survey the gamma-ray sky at 0.2-5 MeV, performing high-resolution spectroscopy, wide-field imaging, and polarization measurements. COSI-X would map gamma-rays from antimatter around the Milky Way's center, as well as from newly-formed radioactive elements in the debris of stellar explosions.
"Our center has lost a dear friend and astronomy pioneer, and his spirit will always live on in our work, said Goddard Center Director Chris Scolese. "Those of us who were fortunate to work with Neil know of his unwavering enthusiasm for science and unselfish generosity in mentoring others."
Neil Gehrels was posthumously awarded the $1 million 2017 Dan David Prize for "being the principal investigator of NASA's Swift Gamma Ray Burst Mission, which has transformed our view of the transient and variable sky in gamma-rays and in X-rays." Neil is one of three laureates announced this year in the field of astronomy. The Dan David Prize is headquartered at Tel Aviv University.
2017 Rossi Prize: Gabriela González and LIGO Scientific Collaboration
The 2017 Rossi Prize has been awarded to Gabriela González at Louisiana State University and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration for "the first direct detections of gravitational waves, for the discovery of merging black hole binaries, and beginning the new era of gravitational-wave astronomy." The collaboration includes more than 1,000 scientists from more than 90 institutions around the world. ASD members are:
Tito Dal Canton
The 2016 Science Jamboree was a great success! A collection of 50 photos from the event are available now.
Mark Clampin Named Director of the Astrophysics Science Division
Please welcome Mark Clampin into the key leadership position of Director of the Astrophysics Science Division. Mark came to Goddard in 2003 from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). Mark has been serving as the James Webb Space Telescope Observatory (JWST) Project Scientist at Goddard since 2003, providing science oversight of the Observatory's design through the initial phases of integration. From 2012 to 2014 he also served as the Chief Technologist of the Cosmic Origins and Physics of the Cosmos Program Offices. During the last year, he participated in the development of the Advanced Large Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST) concept as a Senior Scientist.
Mark assumes this position with a broad range of experience covering the scientific, technical and programmatic breadth of the division’s responsibilities. We are delighted he is accepting this new challenge and we look forward to working with him as he leads the outstanding team here in the Astrophysics Science Division.
Congratulations to everyone who worked hard on the Senior Review proposals,
and during the preceding 2 years to deliver great science results
from our missions.
2012 Robert H. Goddard Awards for ASD
Robert H. Goddard Award of Merit (Goddard's highest award): Bruce Woodgate (667)
Citation: For exceptional career achievements in science and service to Goddard and NASA
Timothy Kallman (662) - Citation: For his outstanding performance as GEMS Project Scientist
Eliahu Dwek (665) - Citation: For developing new, detailed, and observationally confirmed models of the formation, evolution, and destruction of cosmic dust grains, from supernovae to shock waves and star-forming regions.
Jane Rigby (665) - Citation: For using gravitational lensing to map a distant galaxy in unprecedented detail.
HEASARC Team (660.1) - [Team list: Alan Smale, Tom McGlynn, Bill Pence, Frank Marshall, Lorella Angelini, Dave Chuss, Phil Newman, Keith Arnaud, Mike Corcoran, Steve Drake, Steve Sturner, Laura McDonald, Ed Sabol, Craig Gordon, Bryan Irby, Pan Chai, Urmila Prasad, Michael Greason] Citation: For enabling new science results from NASA missions by providing high quality software for data search, retrieval and analysis through the HEASARC data archive research center Safety: Curtis Odell (660) - Citation: For thorough and detailed investigation into the root cause of the laboratory fire in Building 34, Room C259, and his efforts to define and implement a recovery plan. Mentoring: Joan Centrella (660) - Citation: For her demonstrated commitment to mentoring women scientists at all stages of their careers, which has resulted in a positive and supportive professional environment for all. Outreach: Frank Reddy (660) - Citation: For outstanding dedication to public outreach through the media, including exceptional scientific writing and coordination with NASA video producers, resulting in high-impact Astrophysics press releases and features.
Welcome Padi Boyd to the Division Office!
While Joan Centrella is on a 1 year detail to NASA HQ, Padi will be Acting Deputy Division Director.
Plans for the second annual science jamboree on June 2nd are progressing well. Please keep this day open on your calendars and avoid scheduling other meetings the same day! This will be a great opportunity to mix and mingle with your colleagues and see all the exciting science we lead at the center.