MIT and EAPS members and affiliates inducted to American Astronomical Society's first AAS Fellows
American Astronomical Society
Monday, March 9, 2020
MIT and EAPS members, affiiates and alumni are recognized for original research and publication, innovative contributions to astronomical techniques or instrumentation, significant contributions to education and public outreach, and service to astronomy and to the Society.
The American Astronomical Society (AAS), the major organization of professional astronomers in North America, has established a new accolade, Fellow of the AAS, to honor members for extraordinary achievement and service. AAS Fellows will be recognized for original research and publication, innovative contributions to astronomical techniques or instrumentation, significant contributions to education and public outreach, and noteworthy service to astronomy and to the Society itself.
An initial group of more than 200 Legacy Fellows has been designated by the AAS Board of Trustees. These include past recipients of certain awards from the AAS or its topical Divisions, distinguished AAS elected leaders and volunteer committee members, and previously unrecognized individuals with long histories of outstanding research, teaching, mentoring, and service. Among this first class of honorees, E. Margaret Burbidge — the first woman to serve as AAS President (1976-1978) — was singled out as Inaugural Fellow.
“The Board is simply thrilled to honor Margaret in this way,” says current AAS President Megan Donahue (Michigan State University). “At 100 years old, she has seen almost the full history of the Society! She has been an inspiration for so many, especially women like me who use large telescopes, something not possible before Margaret famously broke the observatory gender boundary in the mid-20th century.”
Many other scientific societies acknowledge their members’ scientific accomplishments and service to the field by electing them as Fellows, something the AAS hasn’t done before. “Our members were missing out on the opportunity to not only celebrate the accomplishments of individual astronomers,” says Donahue, “but also the success of the field more generally.” It’s not just a feel-good exercise, she explains. “The places where scientists work look to external indicators of contributions and service. Especially for those of us employed in physics or other physical sciences departments, the AAS Fellows program will increase the visibility and prestige of astronomy within our organizations.”
Congratulations to MIT/EAPS affiliates, who were selected as the first class of AAS Fellows: