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2004 ASP Award Recipients Press Release


The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) is pleased to announce that Dr. Chushiro Hayashi is the 2004 recipient of the Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal. Hayashi is Professor Emeritus of Astrophysics at Kyoto University in Japan. The Bruce Medal, one of astronomy's oldest and most prestigious awards, has been presented since 1898 to individual astronomers for significant, lifetime achievement in astronomy.

The ASP's Board of Directors selected Hayashi for the 2004 Bruce Medal in recognition of his seminal theoretical work in several areas of astrophysics. In particular, Hayashi introduced the methods of atomic physics and hydrodynamics into astrophysics, facilitating more intensive and robust studies in stellar evolution, especially the early stages. In addition, the Board noted Hayashi's contributions to our understanding of the origins of the Solar System, work that underlies current thought on the origins of planetary systems, in general.

In addition to the Bruce Medal, the ASP announces the recipients of its other annual awards.

Klumpke-Roberts Award: Dr. Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, CA, has been selected to receive the 2004 Klumpke-Roberts Award. The award was established to recognize outstanding contributions to increasing public understanding and appreciation of astronomy. Shostak is known around the world for his outreach to the general public--through countless magazine and newspaper articles and interviews, books, video production, photography, lectures, frequent radio interviews, and numerous appearances on television.

Thomas J. Brennan Award: Mr. John Land, a noted astronomy teacher at Broken Arrow Senior High School in Broken Arrow, OK, is the 2004 recipient of the Thomas J. Brennan Award, which is given annually in recognition of exceptional achievement related to the teaching of astronomy at the high-school level. Land's achievements the past two decades in Oklahoma are legion--teaching astronomy to over 3000 students, holding hands-on workshops for other teachers and his own students in the use of portable planetaria, and conducting a wide range of public-outreach activities.

Robert J. Trumpler Award: Dr. David Charbonneau, a Millikan Postdoctoral Scholar in Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA, has been selected to receive the 2004 Robert J. Trumpler Award. Each year the Society's Board of Directors chooses a recent recipient of the Ph.D. degree to receive the Trumpler Award, which is given in recognition of the young scientist's unusually important work to astronomy. Charbonneau's 2001 doctoral thesis, conducted at Harvard University, is titled "Shadows and Reflections of Extrasolar Planets," and it and subsequent work in the search for and study of extrasolar worlds is considered by astronomers in the field to be of great importance.

Maria and Eric Muhlmann Award: Dr. John Lacy, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin, is the recipient of the Society's Maria and Eric Muhlmann Award for 2004. The Muhlmann Award is given annually for recent significant observational results made possible by innovative advances in astronomical instrumentation, software, or observational infrastructure. Lacy is recognized for his ability at designing, building, and using exceptional infrared instrumentation, and the Society's Board of Directors noted that Lacy's innovative instruments are applied to studies of a wide range of astronomical topics--planetary atmospheres, interstellar molecular clouds, and protostellar disks.

Amateur Achievement Award: Mr. Nicholas Szymanek, an amateur astronomer in the United Kingdom, is the 2004 recipient of the ASP's Amateur Achievement Award. Given annually since 1979, the Amateur Achievement Award is designed to recognize significant contributions to astronomy or amateur astronomy by those not employed in the field of astronomy in a professional capacity. The Society's Board of Director's noted Szymanek's leadership in state-of-the-art imaging and image processing--especially his true-color, deep-sky images--and his ongoing contributions to education and public outreach.

Las Cumbres Award: Mr. Angelo Parisi, Mr. Matt Gardner, and Ms. Terry Dye, members of northern California's "Big Bang Band," are recipients of the Society's Las Cumbres Award for 2004. The Award is given to an individual or group in recognition of outstanding educational outreach by an amateur astronomer(s) to grade K-12 children and/or the interested lay public. The Society was particularly impressed by the Band's members' outstanding contributions to public outreach by writing and performing original music with astronomical themes, providing educational and entertaining activities for students and the general public, and conducting numerous star parties for the public.

Each year, the ASP's Board of Directors asks various individuals and institutions to nominate people for these awards. The ASP awards recognize meritorious work by professional and amateur astronomers, science educators, and those who engage in public outreach. The ASP will present this year's awards at the Society's Annual Meeting Awards Banquet at the Doubletree Hotel in Berkeley, California, on Friday evening, July 23rd.

More information about the ASP's 2004 award winners will be available in the May/June 2004 issue of Mercury, the bimonthly magazine of the Society. More information about the Bruce Medal can be found at

For more information about the ASP's 2004 Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet, which takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area July 20-24, 2004, visit www.astrosociety.org/events/meeting.html or call the Meeting Coordinator at 415-337-1100 x109.

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific is an international non-profit scientific and educational organization that works to increase the understanding and appreciation of astronomy. Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, since its founding there in 1889, the Society is the world's largest general astronomy organization with members in more than 70 countries. In addition to developing and selling educational materials in astronomy and space science for science teachers, the Society publishes a bimonthly, popular-level magazine named Mercury, a peer-refereed scientific journal called Publications of the ASP, and a popular series of professional astronomy conference proceedings.

The ASP's annual awards permit it to recognize significant contributions to astronomy by professional and amateur astronomers and by educators at all levels.