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Annual Awards

Nominations for 2019 are now closed.

2018 Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal recipient

2018 ASP Award recipients

2018 ASP Annual Awards Gala photos

Tan Thiam Guan and Chris Ford

2018 Awards Gala
Thiam-Guan Tan
2018 Amateur Achievement Award

About the ASP Awards

The ASP recognizes individual achievements in astronomy research, technology, education, and public outreach each year. Recipients of our awards have included luminaries such as Edwin Hubble, Vera Rubin, Isaac Asimov, Margaret Burbidge, Carl Sagan, and most recently, Katherine Johnson.

Our most prestigious award, the Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal, was established in 1889 by Catherine Wolfe Bruce, an American philanthropist and patroness of astronomy. The Bruce has been awarded annually by the ASP to a professional astronomer in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding achievement and contributions to astrophysics research and is one of the most important awards in the field.

Nominees accepted through March 1 of each year. Please note that our Awards schedule has changed. See each individual award for the distribution year. Most of the awards are open for nominations from the public unless specified.

Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal

Awarded since 1898 for a lifetime of outstanding research in astronomy

Our highest award is the Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal, awarded for a lifetime of outstanding research in astronomy. Awarded since 1898, the medal has gone to some of the greatest astronomers of the past century.

The 2018 recipient is Dr. Timothy Heckman of Johns Hopkins University.

Past recipients of the Bruce Medal.

Additional information about the Bruce Medal.

Nomination guidelines

Maria and Eric Muhlmann Award

For important research results based upon development of groundbreaking instruments and techniques.

The Maria and Eric Muhlmann Award is given for recent significant observational results made possible by innovative advances in astronomical instrumentation, software, or observational infrastructure.

The 2018 recipient of the Muhlmann Award is Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University.

Past recipients

Nomination guidelines

Robert J. Trumpler Award

For a recent Ph.D. thesis considered unusually important to astronomy

The Robert J. Trumpler Award is given each year to a recent recipient of the PhD degree in North America whose research is considered unusually important to astronomy.

The recipient of the 2018 Trumpler Award is Benjamin J. Fulton, a staff scientist at NExScI, CalTech.

Past recipients and granting institutions

Nomination guidelines.

Arthur B.C. Walker II Award

The Arthur B.C. Walker II Award is presented to an outstanding African American (or member of the African Diaspora) who works in the areas of astronomy (including astronomy, astrophysics, space, and related sciences,) as a recognized leader in efforts to diversify the scientific community. The ASP’s Arthur B.C. Walker II Award has been established to honor an outstanding scientist whose research and/or educational efforts substantially contribute to those fields and who has (1) demonstrated a substantial commitment to mentoring students from underrepresented groups pursuing degrees in astronomy and/or (2) been instrumental in creating or supporting innovative and successful STEM programs designed to support underrepresented students or their teachers.

The Arthur B.C. Walker II Award also includes an Arthur B.C. Walker II Scholarship which the recipient gives to a student of their choice. In addition, and perhaps even more important than the financial benefit, the prestigious scholarship from the ASP will help support the student’s academic and career goals.

The 2017 recipient is Dr. George R. Carruthers, astrophysicist, inventor, and 2012 National Medal of Technology and Innovation recipient.

Past recipients

Nomination guidelines

Las Cumbres Amateur Outreach Award

For outstanding outreach by an amateur astronomer to children and the public

The Las Cumbres Amateur Outreach Award, given for the first time in 2001, seeks to honor outstanding educational outreach by an amateur astronomer to K-12 children and the interested lay public.

The 2018 recipient is Don Ficken, a member of the St. Louis Astronomical Society.

Past recipients

Nomination guidelines.

Richard H. Emmons Award

For excellence in college astronomy teaching

Added to our list of honors in 2006, the Richard H. Emmons Award was inspired by a very generous gift from Jeanne and Allan Bishop, in honor of her father, Richard Emmons. Dr. Jeanne Bishop, a well-known astronomy educator in her own right, wished to honor her father, an astronomer with a life-long dedication to astronomy education, by creating an award that recognizes and celebrates outstanding achievement in the teaching of college-level introductory astronomy for non-science majors.

The 2018 recipient is Prof. David Hurd, of Edinboro University in Pennsylvania.

Past recipients

Nomination guidelines.

Thomas J. Brennan Award

For exceptional achievement related to the teaching of astronomy at the high school level

The Thomas J. Brennan Award recognizes excellence in the teaching of astronomy at the high school level in North America. The recipients have demonstrated exceptional commitment to classroom or planetarium education, as well as the training of other teachers.

The 2018 Brennan Award recipient is Peter Detterline, Planetarium Director and high school astronomy teacher for the Boyertown Area School District in Boyertown, Pennsylvania.

Past recipients

Nomination guidelines.

Gordon Myers Amateur Achievement Award

For significant observational or technical achievements by an amateur astronomer

In 2018, the ASP Board of Directors decided to honor Board Member Gordon Myers’ contributions to the ASP by naming the Amateur Achievement Award after him. Gordon has been instrumental in steering the Society over the past decade and it is a suitable honor for his dedication.

The Gordon Myers Amateur Achievement Award recognizes significant observational or technological contributions to astronomy or amateur astronomy by an individual not employed in the field of astronomy in a professional capacity.

The 2018 recipient is Mr. Thiam-Guan Tan, NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission.

Past recipients

Nomination guidelines.

Klumpke-Roberts Award

For outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy

The ASP bestows the Klumpke-Roberts Award on those who have made outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy. Awardees include Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Chesley Bonestell, Timothy Ferris, Walter Sullivan, Heidi Hammel, and the staffs of Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazines.

The 2017 recipient is Prof. Paul A. Delaney, Director of the York University Astronomical Observatory and former Director of the Natural Science Division at York University in Toronto, Canada.

Past recipients

Nomination Guidelines

Priscilla and Bart Bok Award

The Bok prize is named for Bart and Priscilla Bok. Bart Bok was an outstanding research astronomer who made important contributions to our understanding of the Milky Way and of star formation. He received the Bruce Medal for lifetime achievement in astronomy, and in 1982 the Klumpke-Roberts Award for the popularization of astronomy. Throughout his life, and especially as an ASP Board member, Bok was a strong advocate for outreach and education in astronomy as was his wife, Priscilla, also a distinguished astronomer. Upon Bart Bok’s death in 1983, the Society established the Bart Bok Memorial Fund to support educational projects. At the suggestion of the AAS, the activities supported by the Bok Fund were expanded to include the joint sponsorship of an astronomy Priscilla and Bart Bok Award given at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair. The Priscilla and Bart Bok Award was last given in 2018.

Past recipients

Please contact awards {at} if you have questions about the nomination process.