American Astronomical Society


American Astronomical Society

The American Astronomical Society (AAS, sometimes pronounced "double-A-S") is a US society of professional astronomers and other interested individuals, headquartered in Washington, DC. The main aim of the AAS is to further the science of astronomy and closely related fields of science. Secondary purposes include enhancing astronomy education and providing a political voice for its members through lobbying and grassroots activities.

History

The society was founded in 1899 through the efforts of George Ellery Hale. The constitution of the group was written by Hale, George Comstock, Edward Morley, Simon Newcomb and Edward Pickering. These men plus four others were the first Executive Council of the society, Newcomb was the first president. The initial membership was 114. The AAS name of the society was not finally decided until 1915, previously it was the "Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America". One proposed name that preceded this interim name was "American Astrophysical Society". [cite web | author=Brant L. Sponberg and David H. DeVorkin | title=How did the AAS get its name? | work=History of the Society | url=http://www.aas.org/had/aashistory/2name.html | accessmonthday=21 August | accessyear=2005 ]

The AAS today has over 6,500 members and five divisions - the Division for Planetary Sciences (1968), the Division on Dynamical Astronomy (1969), the High Energy Astrophysics Division (1969), the Solar Physics Division (1969) and the Historical Astronomy Division (1980).

Divisions

Because the field of astronomy is diverse, several divisions have been formed each of which promotes and enables a differenct branch of astronomy or astronomy-related science as well as working within the overall charter of the AAS. Many of the divisions hold separate meetings in addition to meeting with the main group. The divisions of the AAS, together with their main research interests, are:

* The Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) supports planetology and exploration of the solar system.

* The Division on Dynamical Astronomy (DDA) supports research on the dynamics (orbits, evolution, and history) of astronomical systems from the solar system to superclusters of galaxies on cosmological scales.

* The High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) supports knowledge about high energy events, particles, quanta, relativistic gravitational fields, and related phenomena in the astrophysical universe.

* The Historical Astronomy Division (HAD) supports topics relevant to the history of astronomy as a field, and research using historical astronomical records to solve current problems in astronomy.

* The Solar Physics Division (SPD) supports astrophysical research on the Sun, and its interactions with the Solar system and Earth.

Prizes

*The Henry Norris Russell Lectureship, for lifetime achievement in astronomy
*The Newton Lacy Pierce Prize in Astronomy, for outstanding early career in observational astronomy
*The Helen B. Warner Prize for Astronomy, for outstanding early career in theoretical astronomy
*The Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize, for a creative or innovating contribution to astronomy
*The Joseph Weber Award, for a significant advance in astronomical instrumentation
*The Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics (joint award with the American Institute of Physics), for outstanding work in astrophysics
*The George Van Biesbroeck Prize, for outstanding service to astronomy
*The Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy (awarded in concert with the American Association of University Women), for outstanding early career by a female astronomer
*the Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award for astronomy writing for an academic audience
*The Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award for exemplary research by an amateur astronomer
*The AAS Education Prize for outstanding contributions to astronomy education (formerly called the Annenberg Foundation Award

Similar prizes are awarded by AAS divisions. These include:

*The Gerard P. Kuiper Prize (DPS), for lifetime achievement in planetary science
*The Harold C. Urey Prize (DPS), for outstanding early career in planetary science
*The Harold Masursky Meritorious Service Award (DPS), for outstanding service to planetary science
*The Dirk Brouwer Award (DDA), for lifetime achievement in dynamical astronomy
*The Bruno Rossi Prize (HEAD), for a significant recent contribution to high-energy astrophysics
*The LeRoy E. Doggett Prize (HAD), for work in the history of astronomy
*The George Ellery Hale Prize (SPD), for lifetime achievement in solar astronomy
*The Karen Harvey Prize (SPD), for outstanding early career in solar astronomy

The AAS also manages a Small Research Grant Award program and an International Travel Grant program, which any astronomer working in the US may apply to for funding opportunities.

External links

* [http://www.aas.org/ The AAS Website] (also contains links to the division websites)

References


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