American Astronomical Society Names Two More Prize Recipients for 2021

Press Release From: American Astronomical Society
Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2021

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), the major organization of professional astronomers in North America, has named two more prize recipients, adding to the ones announced last month ( at the virtual 237th AAS meeting. The Society’s Board of Trustees approved the additional awards at its monthly teleconference last week, ratifying the recommendations of two AAS prize committees that weren’t able to complete their work in time for AAS 237.

The 2021 Helen B. Warner Prize for Astronomy ( goes to Rebekah Dawson (Pennsylvania State University) “for her important contributions on planet formation and dynamics, particularly on hot Jupiter exoplanets and the connection between planetary composition and orbital structure.” The Warner Prize is awarded annually for a significant contribution to observational or theoretical astronomy during the five years preceding the award. It is given to an astronomer resident in North America who has not attained 36 years of age in the year designated for the award or must be within eight years of receipt of their PhD degree. This is Dawson’s second AAS prize; she received the Annie Jump Cannon Award ( in 2017 for her earlier work modeling the dynamical interactions of exoplanets in multiplanet systems.

Bill Paxton (Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara) is receiving the 2021 Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize ( “for his inspired work on providing, maintaining, and supporting the use of open-source stellar-evolution codes that have seeped into the foundation of research and education efforts and have given rise to an immense amount of new research across multiple subfields of astrophysics.” The Tinsley Prize, awarded every two years, recognizes an outstanding research contribution to astronomy or astrophysics of an exceptionally creative or innovative character.

“I’m not surprised to see Bekki Dawson honored with another Society prize,” says AAS President Paula Szkody (University of Washington). “She’s been a rising star in our field since her graduate-student days. And I’m very happy to see Bill Paxton’s work celebrated with the Tinsley Prize. He describes himself as a computer scientist, but through his collaborations with astronomers, he has developed software without which stellar astrophysics would not be nearly as advanced as it is today.”

Rick Fienberg
AAS Press Officer
+1 202-328-2010 x116

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), established in 1899, is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. Its membership (approx. 8,000) also includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, engineers, and others whose research interests lie within the broad spectrum of subjects now comprising the astronomical sciences. The mission of the AAS is to enhance and share humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe, which it achieves through publishing, meeting organization, science advocacy, education and outreach, and training and professional development.

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