Astrophysics Science Division (660) Local News Archive

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2022 Robert H. Goddard Award Winners

Congratulations to all the 660 winners of the Robert H. Goddard awards:

Rita M Sambruna (660) - Diversity & Inclusion and EEO Team
LISA Telescope Team (663) - Engineering
Jonathan P Gardner (665) - Leadership
Kimberly A Weaver (662) - Leadership
Eric R Switzer (665) - Mentoring
Sibasish Laha (661) - Science
Maurice A Leutenegger (662) - Science
Tonia Moira Venters (661) - Science
Ellie Jeffries (660) - Secretarial & Clerical
Travis James Coffroad (662) - Technician

Astronomy Picture of the Day Honored for Outreach by IAU

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.

Jane Rigby Named 2022 LGBTQ+ Scientist of the Year

Out to Innovate's LGBTQ+ Scientist of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to their field through design, research, or management. This year’s award winner is Dr. Jane Rigby, an astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Operations Project Scientist for NASA’s JWST. In addition to her work with JWST, Rigby and her team at NASA, with international collaborators, have led many successful research campaigns, collecting data from the Keck and Magellan Observatories and the Hubble Space Telescope. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed publications. She also has given countless professional and public presentations on her research and on JWST and served on the 2020 Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics for the National Academies. Rigby has been recognized for her research, mentorship, and diversity-related work with awards such as the John C. Lindsay Memorial Award for Space Science.

The Rossi Prize, Top High-Energy Award, Given to NICER Mission

The top prize in high-energy astrophysics has been awarded to the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) team for the instrument and the revelations it is producing about the physics of neutron stars and their environments. The High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) awards the Rossi Prize in recognition of significant contributions as well as recent and original work in high-energy astrophysics.

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 Richard Mushotzky, Awarded the 2022 Henry Norris Russell Lectureship

The 2022 Henry Norris Russell Lectureship, celebrating a career of eminence in astronomical research, goes to Richard Mushotzky (University of Maryland) for a lifetime of innovative X-ray and multiwavelength research, including foundational studies of the properties of active galactic nuclei and the composition and structures of hot gas in clusters of galaxies. His highly productive career also included co-invention of the X-ray calorimeter, a device used to detect and measure the energy of X-ray photons, revealing detailed information about energetic astrophysical phenomena in our universe.

Congratulations to Brad Cenko, Awarded the 2022 HEAD Mid-Career Prize

The 2022 HEAD Mid-Career Prize was awarded to Dr. Brad Cenko "for outstanding leadership, discovery and characterization of high-energy transient phenomena from tidal disruption events, counterparts to gravitational wave mergers, and gamma ray bursts."

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.

Dr. Knicole Colón Selected as TESS Project Scientist

Dr. Knicole Colón has been selected as the next Project Scientist for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), effective Monday 2/28/2022. As an exoplanet scientist in Goddard’s Laboratory for Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics since 2017, with broad experience leading exoplanet research programs and supporting NASA missions from SmallSats through flagships, Colón is an outstanding choice to ensure that the TESS mission continues to meet its goals. She is an expert in exoplanet research and photometry from space and ground-based observatories. Her experience will have positive impacts felt far beyond the project, as TESS data continue to be collected, archived, and shared with the community in innovative ways, to maximize the broadest community participation and science legacy of TESS.

663's Noble, Kelly, and Schnittman featured in Cutting Edge

Cutting Edge magazineGravitational Astrophysics Lab members Scott Noble, Bernard Kelly, and Jeremy Schnittman are featured in the latest Cutting Edge magazine, in an article titled "Binary Black Hole Simulations Provide Blueprint for Future Observations." It begins on page 10.

Future Hiring at Goddard

The Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is hiring soon!

Rita Sambruna and Richard Mushotzky Selected as AAS Fellows

Rita Sambruna is cited “For exceptional contributions to the fundamental understanding of relativistic jets from supermassive black holes, for being an ally to, and role model for, underrepresented groups in the field; and for leadership and service.” Richard Mushotzky, who retired from GSFC and is now a professor at the University of Maryland, is cited “For his leadership in X-ray and multiwavelength imaging, timing, and spectroscopy focusing on the physics of black hole accretion, evolution of the elements, and cosmology.”

EarthShine proposal featured on cover of GSFC's Cutting Edge

Cover of Cutting Edge magazine 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.

"Six Stars, Six Eclipses" result featured in the New York Times

In today's New York Times: an article about the sextuple star system discovered in TESS data by Brian Powell, with quotes from Brian (and a HEASARC mention). The preprint is available here:
Brian Powell

Rich Kelley Awarded AAS HEAD Innovation Prize

Congratulations to Rich Kelley who was awarded the inaugural AAS HEAD Innovation Prize "for his unflagging effort to make the transformational capabilities of the X-ray microcalorimeter available to the high-energy astrophysics community."

Congratulations to Rita Sambruna for being honored as an APS Fellow!

Rita Sambruna has been named a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) for 2020. This distinct honor signifies recognition by one's professional peers for outstanding contributions to physics. Each year, no more than one-half of one percent of the society’s membership is recognized by this honor.

Two SED Scientists Honored as APS Fellows

Li-Jen Chen was nominated by the APS Division of Plasma Physics for pioneering observational and theoretical contributions to the understanding of collisionless plasma dynamics; especially collisionless magnetic reconnection.

Rita M. Sambruna was selected by the APS Division of Astrophysics for exceptional contributions to the fundamental understanding of relativistic jets from supermassive black holes, and for leadership in, and service to, the field of astrophysics.
Li Jen ChenRita Sambruna

Robert H. Goddard Award Winners

Congratulations to all the 660 winners of the Robert H. Goddard awards:

Caroline Kilbourne – Award of Merit
Eli Dwek – Award of Merit
Julie McEnery – Leadership
Elisa Quintana – Leadership, Mentoring (two awards!)
Stephen Rinehart – Leadership
Aki Roberge – Leadership
Josh Schleider – Leadership
Sheila Rahming – Secretarial/Clerical
Petrus Bult – Science
Jeremy Schnittman – Science
Will Zhang – Science
TESS Science Support Center Team – Science Teams
Origins Space Telescope Mission Concept Study Team – Science Teams
LUVOIR Science and Technology Definition Team – Science Teams

First AAS Fellows include ASD Scientists

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:

Edward Cheng
Alice Harding
Sangeeta Malhotra
Maxim Markevitch
John Mather
William Pence
Tod Strohmayer
Jean Hebb Swank
Kimberly Weaver

2019 John C. Lindsay Award for Space Science

Photo of Keith and ZavenDrs. Keith Gendreau and Zaven Arzoumanian are the joint winners of the 2019 John C. Lindsay Award for Space Science. Keith and Zaven are being recognized for their development of the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) instrument, and the revelations of the physics of neutron stars and their environments that NICER is producing. Keith is the PI of NICER and Zaven is the Deputy PI.

Regina Caputo Selected as a Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellow

Congratulations to Regina Caputo on her selection as a Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellow.

Black Hole Week was September 23-27

Have you ever thought about visiting a black hole? We sure hope not. However, if you're absolutely convinced that a black hole is your ideal vacation spot, watch this video before you blast off to learn more about them and (more importantly) how to stay safe.

2019 Government and Commercial Invention of the Year

Congratulations to Keith Gendreau (Code 662), Zaven Arzoumanian (Code 662), and Steven Kenyon (Code 543). NASA’s Inventions and Contributions Board have selected the winner for the 2019 Government and Commercial Invention of the Year, and the winner is Miniaturized High Speed Modulated X-Ray source (MXS).

Developed in support of the NICER instrument, the MXS is a small, low cost option for high-speed modulation of X-ray intensity. The miniaturized X-ray source can be modulated in intensity from completely off to full intensity, over 100 keV, on subnanosecond timescales. The high speed switching capability and miniature size make possible many new technologies including X-ray-based communication, compact time resolved X-ray diffraction, novel X-ray fluorescence instruments, low precise dose medical X-rays, and more.

Thank you Keith, Zaven and Steve for representing Goddard while advancing research and development in a field that benefits all of us.

Poster Blowout 2019 is in the books!

photo of people at the poster party

Photos from this year's Poster Blowout are available now. Congratulations to everyone, especially this year's winners!

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