Press Release

Royal Astronomical Society Honors Outstanding Astronomers and Geophysicists

By SpaceRef Editor
January 10, 2014
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On Friday 10 January the Royal Astronomical Society, the UK’s leading voice for astronomers and geophysicists, will announce the recipients of the Society’s medals and awards for 2014. The prizes honor individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to astronomy (here designated ‘A’) and geophysics (‘G’) and will be presented at the 2014 National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2014) to be held in Portsmouth in June.

Professor David Southwood, President of the Royal Astronomical Society, congratulated the winners: “For nearly two centuries the RAS has supported the work of astronomers and geophysicists in the UK and around the world. It gives me the greatest pleasure to announce the winners of our medals and awards for 2014, recognizing the extraordinarily talented men and women who reach the highest levels of achievement in our field.”

Full list of medal and award recipients:

* Gold Medal (A): Professor Carlos Frenk FRS, University of Durham

* Gold Medal (G): Professor John Zarnecki, Open University

* Eddington Medal (A): Professor Andrew King, University of Leicester

* Price Medal (G): Professor Seth Stein, Northwestern University, USA

* Herschel Medal (A): Professor Reinhard Genzel, MPIE Garching, Germany / University of California, Berkeley, USA

* Chapman Medal (A): Professor Louise Harra, Mullard Space Science Laboratory

* Jackson-Gwilt Medal (A): Professor George Fraser, University of Leicester

* Patrick Moore Medal (A): Miss Hayley Flood, Coopers Technology College (for work at the Long Eaton School)

* Fowler Award (A): Dr. Joanna Dunkley, Oxford University

* Fowler Award (G): Dr. Alex Copley, University of Cambridge

* Winton Capital Award (A): Dr. Benjamin Joachimi, University College London

* Winton Capital Award (G): Dr. Chris Davies, University of Leeds

* RAS Group Achievement Award (A): Herschel-SPIRE consortium

* RAS Group Achievement Award (G): Magnetometer Team on the Cassini spacecraft

* RAS Service Award: Professor Mark Lester, University of Leicester

Each year the Society also invites distinguished scientists to give its ‘named’ lectures:

* Gerald Whitrow Lecturer: Professor Ofer Lahav, University College London

* Harold Jeffreys Lecturer: Professor Alexander Halliday, Oxford University

* James Dungey Lecturer: Professor Sandra Chapman, University of Warwick

Honorary Fellowships in 2014:

* Professor Alain Omont, Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris

* Professor Roberta Humphreys, University of Minnesota

* Professor Joshua Frieman, University of Chicago

* Professor Rajmal Jain, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad

The full citations for all the awards are set out below.


Robert Massey

Royal Astronomical Society

+44 (0)20 7734 3307 x214, cell: +44 (0)794 124 8035


Gold Medal (A)

The Society’s highest honor is the Gold Medal, one of which is available for award annually for extraordinary lifetime achievement in astronomy and another for the same in geophysics.

The Gold Medal for Astronomy is awarded to Professor Carlos Frenk FRS, Ogden Professor of Fundamental Physics at the University of Durham. Professor Frenk is one of the originators of the Cold Dark Matter theory for the origin of galaxies and cosmic structures in the universe. Principally through the use of large computer simulations, Professor Frenk and his collaborators have pioneered many of the developments which have resulted in the cold dark matter model becoming accepted as the standard paradigm for structure formation.

His many other contributions to cosmology include the execution and analysis of large galaxy redshift surveys, most recently the Anglo-Australian Two Degree Field Redshift Survey. Professor Frenk’s leadership skills have been instrumental to the success of the Durham University Institute for Cosmological Computation, which is now acknowledged as a world class center for theoretical cosmology. He has raised the international profile of UK astronomy and assisted the careers of a generation of young researchers.

Professor Frenk has co-authored more than 300 scientific papers and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2004.

Gold Medal (G)

Professor John Zarnecki is awarded the Royal Astronomical Society’s Gold Medal for Geophysics.

Professor Zarnecki has been involved in space research for over 30 years. He has been part of the instrument teams — often as Principal Investigator — for many ground-breaking, novel instruments, as well as the associated analysis and interpretation of the resulting data. Prof. Zarnecki is part of the team responsible for the Huygens lander that touched down on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.

At a distance of 1.5 billion kilometers from Earth, Huygens holds the world record for a long-distance landing, and Prof. Zarnecki’s penetrometer was the first instrument to take readings on Titan’s surface. Typical of his ability to communicate with the general public, Prof. Zarnecki quipped that this surface was like “creme brulee.”

At the start of his career, Professor Zarnecki’s focus was on X-ray astronomy, establishing that supernova remnants were an important source of cosmic X-rays. His work at British Aerospace led to the production of the Faint Object Camera, Europe’s contribution to the Hubble Space Telescope that became the longest-serving camera in space in 2002. He led the Dust Impact Detection System team for the Giotto encounter with Comet Halley and later with Comet Grigg-Skjellerup. Professor Zarnecki’s instrumental developments are now being used for the European Space Agency’s ExoMars program.

Professor Zarnecki has given long and distinguished service both to the European and — more recently — to the UK Space Agencies. Professor Zarnecki served as part of ESA’s Senior Review Committee, charged with selecting the scientific themes that would form the basis for the L2 and L3 launches in 2028 and 2034, respectively. He now chairs the solar system Exploration Working Group, a tribute to his wide-ranging interests in the science of our solar system.

For these reasons, Professor Zarnecki is awarded the Royal Astronomical Society’s Gold Medal.

Eddington Medal (A)

The Eddington Medal is awarded for investigations of outstanding merit in astrophysics

The Eddington Medal is awarded to Andrew King, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Leicester. Professor King has a long and distinguished career in the field of accretion disc theory, describing how matter moves in the presence of strong gravitational fields. This model describes situations ranging from two stars in a close binary system to the supermassive black holes found in distant galaxies.

More recently he has made major contributions to the topic of intermediate mass black holes. These objects, if they are proved conclusively to exist, would fill a gap between the binary system black holes of up to about 10 times the mass of the Sun, and the supermassive black holes lying at the core of galaxies, with billions of times the mass of the Sun.

On a different topic Professor King has also significantly advanced our understanding of the nature of feedback-driven galactic winds. His work on momentum and energy driven winds has broad implications for the physics of accretion processes within active galactic nuclei, as well as for aspects of the evolution of galaxies.

For these reasons these reasons Professor Andrew King is awarded the Eddington Medal.

Price Medal (G)

The Price Medal is awarded for investigations of outstanding merit in solid Earth geophysics, oceanography or planetary sciences.

Seth Stein is Deering Professor of Geological Sciences at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Northwestern University. He has a 35-year history of ground-breaking achievements in Earth Sciences of global importance in numerous fields including plate tectonics, seismology and space geodesy. In addition to an extraordinary plethora of service on international committees, he is an outstanding teacher, with much of his influence having been through his popular graduate-level geophysics textbook, Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes, and Earth Structure.

Perhaps one of his most influential recent scientific contributions has been his decade-long project to investigate intracontinental deformation and its relation to continental seismicity, focusing initially on the New Madrid zone in the Mississippi river valley in the United States. His observations led to a new model for intracontinental earthquakes and of aftershock productivity, changing our views of earthquake risk to the general public.

Prof. Stein’s model is currently being tested by studies of several regions, notably in China, Australia and northwest Europe, and is rapidly gaining widespread acceptance. In addition to his geophysical research, he takes a keen interest in communicating his science through popular science books and on how to improve earthquake-hazard mitigation policies.

For these reasons, Professor Seth Stein is awarded the Royal Astronomical Society’s Price Medal.

Herschel Medal (A)

The 2014 Herschel Medal, which recognizes investigations of outstanding merit in observational astrophysics, is awarded to Professor Reinhard Genzel of the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Germany and the University of California, Berkeley, USA.

Professor Genzel’s research spans both galactic and extragalactic astrophysics. Professor Genzel and his group made pioneering observations to map the motions of stars close to the galactic center, leading to firm evidence for the existence of a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way and to an accurate estimate of its mass.

Subsequent research by Professor Genzel’s group has demonstrated the unusual mass-spectrum and geometry of stars at the center of the galaxy and to the discovery of infrared flares that are thought to arise from gas close to the inner accretion disc of the black hole.

Professor Genzel has made numerous contributions to our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution, where he has led the development and exploitation of near and far infrared spectroscopy and high resolution imaging.

Professor Genzel has received many prizes and awards, including the 2003 Balzan prize for his work on infrared instrumentation and the 2008 Shaw prize. He has co-authored nearly 400 refereed papers.

For these reasons, Professor Reinhard Genzel is awarded the Herschel Medal.

Jackson-Gwilt Medal (A)

The Jackson-Gwilt Medal is awarded for the invention, improvement or development of astronomical instrumentation or techniques; for achievement in observational astronomy; or for achievement in research in the history of astronomy.

The Jackson-Gwilt Medal is awarded to Professor George Fraser, Director of Leicester University’s Space Research Center. Professor Fraser’s innovative technical developments have been central to many of the X-ray missions over the last three decades, several of which are still in orbit, working well and producing unique data on the high energy Universe.

One example of his innovative skills is the so-called “lobster-eye” concept applied to X-ray imaging. This is the basis of instruments proposed for several future space missions. His influence has been felt at many levels, and he has written a widely used textbook on X-ray detectors. Professor Fraser has also successfully bridged the gap between academia and industry. His contributions have played a major role in what has been recognized as a ‘Golden Age of X-ray astronomy’.

For these reasons Professor George Fraser is awarded the Jackson-Gwilt Medal.

Chapman Medal (G)

The Chapman Medal is awarded for investigations of outstanding merit in solar-terrestrial physics including geomagnetism and aeronomy.

Professor Louise Harra, of the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, has been responsible for much excellent and far-reaching research in solar physics, especially in the exploitation of extreme-UV and X-ray spectroscopy and solar plasma diagnostics to understand the active solar atmosphere. Since September 2006, she has been Principal Investigator of the UK’s EUV Imaging Spectrometer on the Hinode satellite mission, and has taken a leading role in exploiting its observations.

This award is made primarily in recognition of her significant advances in using EUV spectroscopy to understand large-scale solar flows, dynamics and eruptions. This includes the spectroscopic detection and characterization of large-scale coronal waves, and outflows of hot plasma from the corona following coronal mass ejections.

Particularly notable is her identification of the likely source of the slow solar wind, opening a new channel for understanding its production. She sets her discoveries in the context both of the emergence and evolution of solar magnetic fields, and of space weather. In doing so, she provides a rounded view of the dynamic links between the solar magnetic field and the heliosphere.

Professor Harra also looks to the bigger picture to discover how related research areas can be engaged, and collaborates widely. Her leadership has assured prominent roles for the UK on forthcoming missions such as ESA’s Solar Orbiter. In recognition of her investigations of outstanding merit into flows in the corona and their relation to the solar magnetic field, Professor Harra is awarded the 2014 Royal Astronomical Society Chapman Medal.

Patrick Moore Medal

The Patrick Moore Medal is awarded by the Royal Astronomical Society for a particularly noteworthy contribution to astronomy or geophysics by secondary school level teachers, e.g., by significantly improving examination results, running an active outreach program or engaging students in extra-curricular projects.

The Long Eaton School is a lead school in the Leading Space Education Program. Miss Flood is one of 13 Lead Educators in Astronomy in England and works alongside the Institute of Physics and European Space Agency. As part of this role she has led Master Class Sessions for other Astronomy and Physics teachers and presented regularly at Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) conferences.

Miss Flood was pivotal in securing funding from the Wolfson Foundation to help build and commission a purpose-built observatory ( featuring a dedicated 16″ Meade telescope with solarscope allowing for both regular and solar observation. Since the observatory was dedicated in January 2012 until she moved on to pastures new in the summer of 2013, Miss Flood selflessly worked to help bring fantastic events to the school such as Star Gazing Live and observing the Transit of Venus as well as setting up and running an Astronomical Society and an Astronomy club.

She has delivered many successful events for wider community groups including Cubs/Brownies, Primary and Secondary Schools in addition to working with her own students, successfully inspiring and engaging young and old alike with her infectious enthusiasm for astronomy.

For the reasons set out above and given that she has achieved so much at an early stage in her career, Hayley Flood is the 2013 winner of the Royal Astronomical Society Patrick Moore Medal.

Fowler Prizes

Available for award annually, the Fowler Prizes are for individuals who have made a particularly noteworthy contribution to the astronomical and geophysical sciences at an early stage of their research career.

Fowler Prize (A)

Dr. Joanna Dunkley of the Department of Physics, University of Oxford, is awarded the Fowler Award in recognition of her outstanding contributions to astronomy at an early stage in her career.

Dr. Dunkley has played a leading role in a number of high profile experiments measuring anisotropies of the cosmic microwave background. These include the NASA WMAP satellite, the Atacama Cosmology Telescope and most recently, the ESA Planck satellite. A key characteristic of Dr. Dunkley’s research is her application of advanced statistical techniques to complex data. In addition to her work on CMB anisotropies Dr. Dunkley has done influential work on Galactic emission, clusters of galaxies and fluctuations in the infrared background.

Dr. Dunkley received her D.Phil in 2005 from the University of Oxford and held a postdoctoral position at Princeton until her appointment to a lectureship at Oxford in 2007. She was awarded the 2013 Maxwell Prize of the Institute of Physics.

For these reasons, Dr. Dunkley is awarded the Fowler Award.

Fowler Prize (G)

Dr. Alex Copley of the University of Cambridge receives the Fowler Award in recognition of his innovative studies of how the lithosphere deforms. Dr. Copley uses seismic, geologic and geodetic data sets to test quantitative dynamical models of continental deformation, and he has made especially important contributions to our understanding of the geodynamic evolution of the Himalaya-Tibet collision zone.

In using satellite geodesy (InSAR) and seismology to constrain earthquake models, Alex has been able to extract important information about lithospheric strength, rheology and continental stress fields. In studying seismic focal mechanisms within Tibet he has been able to constrain the extent of under-thrusting and argue successfully against the previously influential idea of a low viscosity channel in the Tibetan crust.

His recent analysis of the Bhuj earthquake has placed a new and important constraint on the stress field within the Indian lithosphere as part of a comprehensive analysis of the force balance on the Indian plate. At an early stage of his research career, Dr. Copley has made some outstanding contributions to our understanding of lithospheric stress and deformation.

For these reasons, Dr. Copley is awarded the Royal Astronomical Society’s Fowler Prize.

Winton Capital Awards

The Winton Capital Awards are for research by a Post-Doctoral Fellow in a UK institution no more than 5 years after the completion of a PhD, whose career has shown the most promising development.

Winton Capital Award (A)

Dr. Benjamin Joachimi holds an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship from STFC and has been appointed to a Lectureship at University College London. His work already spans a range of topics in cosmic shear research, from high-precision measurement of covariance matrices, through new measures such as three-point functions and magnification, to mitigation of systematics. In particular he has already established himself as a world leader in the subject of galaxy intrinsic alignments, whose effect would ruin the promise of lensing for cosmology if ignored.

Dr. Joachimi has proposed a comprehensive suite of methods for removing this potential problem from cosmology analysis of weak lensing, he has measured the effect in data, and he has carried out in-depth numerical predictions using simulations. Furthermore he leads a thriving group on Intrinsic Alignments for the Euclid space mission.

For this reasons, Dr. Joachimi is awarded the 2014 Winton Capital Award for Astronomy.

Winton Capital Award (G)

Dr. Chris Davies, who is currently a NERC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Leeds, is awarded the Winton Capital Prize in recognition of the impact of his contributions to studies of the core geodynamo responsible for maintaining the Earth’s magnetic field. He is a computational geophysicist who has investigated the effects, for example, of how conditions at the core-mantle boundary can influence the geomagnetic field structure.

Dr. Davies has also used the results of the computations to identify palaeomagnetic observations with which to test computational geodynamo models. This early work was recognized in the award of a Green Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics in the University of California at San Diego. Recently Dr. Davies drew out the implications for the geodynamo of recent ab initio material property calculations that showed that the thermal conductivity of the outer core is 2-3 times greater than previously accepted values.

Among these implications are the difficulty of finding sufficient energy to maintain the geodynamo over the lifetime of the geomagnetic field, and the conclusion that the top of the outer core must be stably stratified. This is a seminal contribution that will stimulate studies of the earth’s deep interior for some time to come.

For these reasons, Dr. Chris Davies is awarded the Royal Astronomical Society’s Winton Capital Prize.

RAS Group Achievement Award (A)

The Group Achievement Award is made to the Herschel-SPIRE Consortium.

This consortium is led by Professor Matt Griffin of Cardiff University. The Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE) consortium was responsible for the design, construction and delivery of this bolometer-based instrument as part of the instrument suite for ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory. The Herschel satellite was launched in 2009 and operated very successfully for 4 years, thereby exceeding its design lifetime.

By virtue of its unparalleled sensitivity and unique capabilities, the results obtained using SPIRE have been felt across a broad swath of astrophysics and in particular in detailed studies of star formation in the local universe and extending out to very distant objects. Because of the long wavelengths at which SPIRE operates it is able to penetrate the veil of dust that obscures our view of these regions in visible light. As a measure of its importance, as of summer 2013 more than 500 refereed scientific publications have used SPIRE data.

The fantastic success of Herschel-SPIRE is a fitting tribute to all those scientists and engineers who have contributed to the project over many years. The impact of observations obtained using SPIRE will continue to influence and advance astrophysics well into the future.

For these reasons the Herschel-SPIRE Team receives the Group Achievement Award.

RAS Group Achievement Award (G)

The Group Award in the Royal Astronomical Society’s Geophysics Section is awarded to the Magnetometer Team on the Cassini spacecraft, led by Professor Michele Dougherty, of Imperial College, London.

The Cassini-Huygens mission to the Saturn System is a joint NASA, European Space Agency and ASI venture and one of the most successful ever undertaken. After a cruise of 7.5 billion kilometers, Cassini went into Saturn insertion orbit on July 1, 2004, when it flew through the gap between the F and G rings. It was designed to operate for just 5 years, but is still going strong, and now scheduled to last until 2017, when it will fly through Saturn’s upper atmosphere before plunging into the kronian depths.

The Magnetometer has been one of the most successful instruments aboard the spacecraft, continuously returning data about the fields in the peri-kronian environment, through the ringed planet’s bow shock and magnetopause and deep inside its magnetosphere. One of the key findings of Cassini — and one of the most unexpected and scientifically challenging — was that the small, icy moon Enceladus is pouring a jet of water into Saturn’s magnetosphere. This finding is a direct result of the efforts of the Magnetometer Team and its Principal Investigator, Professor Michele Dougherty.

Professor Dougherty and her team noticed unusual magnetic field patterns as the spacecraft flew by Enceladus, and persuaded the entire mission team that this required further close fly-bys. The result was the discovery of the Enceladus jet, now understood to be the main source of plasma inside Saturn’s magnetosphere. As a result, we now understand that Enceladus must harbor vast quantities of water in its interior, making it — along with Mars and the icy moons of Jupiter and Titan — as potentially habitable (though not necessarily inhabited). The Magnetometer has also revealed Saturn’s magnetosphere to be an “intermediate environment,” between Earth’s Sun-driven and solar-wind-fed magnetosphere, and that of Jupiter, where internal Jupiter-system drivers dominate both the dynamics and the sources of plasma.

The Magnetometer Team have played a critical role from the beginning of the Cassini-Huygens mission and will be there right to the end.

RAS Service Award

This award is to honor any individual who, through outstanding or exceptional work, has promoted, facilitated or encouraged the sciences of astronomy, geophysics, or solar-system sciences and developed their role in the life of the nation, often beyond the requirements of his or her paid position.

Professor Mark Lester is Professor of Solar-Terrestrial Physics at the University of Leicester and currently the Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. During a productive scientific career of over 30 years he has also given outstanding and selfless service to the UK and international solar-terrestrial physics community through representation, advocacy and leadership — including vice-Presidency of the Royal Astronomical Society from 1991 to 1993, serving on the PPARC Astronomy Grants Panel as a member and then Chair for a decade from 1997 to 2007, and member of various other high-level committees within PPARC, STFC, NERC, ESA, NASA, and the UKSA.

Perhaps his greatest service has been his contribution to, and leadership of, the ground-based ionospheric radar community nationally and internationally, initially with the European Incoherent Scatter Radar Association, including Chair of the EISCAT Project Committee from 1992 to 1995, and subsequently with the international Super Dual Auroral Radar Network as PI of two UK SuperDARN radars. Here his extraordinary service and leadership is exemplified by his personal involvement on 111 of all 551 SuperDARN papers published to date and has culminated in him being leader of the SuperDARN Executive Council since 2003. During this time he has overseen SuperDARN more than doubling in size to a $20M asset comprising 32 radars operated by 15 PI groups in 8 countries, serving over 2,000 registered users … and still growing.

For these reasons, Professor Mark Lester is awarded the Royal Astronomical Society’s Service Award for Geophysics.

RAS Named Lectures

The Society invites distinguished speakers to give its major ‘named’ lectures.

Gerald Whitrow Lecturer (A)

The Gerald Whitrow Lecture is given biannually on the philosophy of cosmology.

Professor Ofer Lahav, Perren Chair of Astronomy, University College London has made pioneering contributions to cosmology by using novel statistical techniques to exploit galaxy survey data, and has played influential leadership roles in observational cosmology. His early work established for the first time that the Milky Way is moving towards nearby concentrations of galaxies, and he quickly realized that these galaxy flows could be used to measure the density of the universe.

Professor Lahav played a leading role in extracting science from the 2dF galaxy redshift survey, introduced sophisticated tools for galaxy classification, and began a long-running interaction between cosmology and particle physics constraints on the neutrino mass. He was key in developing galaxy photometric redshift determination, which is now a cornerstone of cosmological surveys. He began the idea of comparing and combining constraints from different cosmological probes, which is now at the heart of current thinking.

Furthermore, he played a crucial role in the early stages of the Dark Energy Survey project, which has recently started its five year observational program, with its science team led by Professor Lahav. He also makes time for broader initiatives: investigating the origins of current ideas in cosmology, collaborating with artists and mentoring generations of young cosmologists.

For these reasons, Professor Lahav is awarded the 2014 Gerald Whitrow Lecture.

Harold Jeffreys Lecturer (G)

The Harold Jeffreys Lecture is given annually on a topic in solid Earth geophysics. The award for the 2014 Harold Jeffreys Lecturer is made to Professor Alex Halliday of Oxford University. Professor Halliday is a geochemist who specializes in the determination of isotope abundances in terrestrial and planetary materials including samples from the Moon, Mars and asteroids. He is a world leader in his field, who has been instrumental in the development of new analytical techniques to investigate isotope systems that were previously poorly understood.

His research topics range from the timing and nature of the origin of the Earth-Moon system, to the sources and evolution of different geochemical reserves in solar system bodies. Such efforts have important implications for the history of the Earth, understanding for conditions for the onset of life in the solar system and have implications for the likelihood of finding Earth-like planets amongst the numerous exoplanetary systems.

On top of these outstanding research contributions, Professor Halliday is an excellent public speaker who communicates his science very well to both the astronomy and geophysics communities. He recently was the main organizer of the 2013 ‘Origin of the Moon’ meeting at the Royal Society, which generated widespread media interest about understanding our planet’s origins and early evolution. Professor Halliday always presents his cutting-edge science in a very accessible and entertaining manner.

For these reasons, Professor Halliday is awarded the position of the Royal Astronomical Society’s 2014 Harold Jeffreys Lecturer.

George Darwin Lecturer (A)

The George Darwin Lecture is given annually, on a topic in astronomy, cosmology or astroparticle physics.

Professor James Dunlop FRSE of the University of Edinburgh has played a leading role in transforming our understanding of how galaxies form. He has pioneered new fields of study and then established them as mature areas of research, often by leading major new observational programs. The first systematic study of quasar host galaxies was carried out by Professor Dunlop, and he went on to discover that their basic properties are indistinguishable from their inactive counterparts.

He has demonstrated that the most massive radio galaxies and black holes formed before most of their lower mass counterparts, an effect known as ‘downsizing’. Through his leadership on age-dating galaxies, he provided the first evidence that massive galaxies formed at redshifts greater than 5. He took sub-mm astronomy from its infancy, through developments in instrumentation with the SCUBA camera on the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii, to establish the basic properties of star-forming galaxies shrouded in cosmic dust, and has played key roles in studying the formation of the very first galaxies.

For these reasons, Professor Dunlop is awarded the 2014 George Darwin Lecture.

James Dungey Lecturer (G)

This lecture celebrates the legacy of Professor James Dungey in solar, solar-terrestrial, and planetary physics.

Professor Sandra Chapman of the University of Warwick has made outstanding contributions to our understanding of the solar wind and the magnetosphere. Among her many achievements, she has led landmark research on turbulence in the solar wind and nonlinear dynamics in the magnetotail.

Her research career is strongly interdisciplinary, spanning space and laboratory plasma physics, climate and neuroscience. She contributed to the data analysis and modeling of turbulence both in space and magnetically confined fusion plasmas, as well as focussing on wave-particle interactions, plasma acceleration and heating.

She has demonstrated a strong commitment to engaging with the general public, most recently through a project exploring how scientific ideas can be communicated through art. She is an outstanding speaker who can draw on the application of nonlinear and complex systems concepts to a wide variety of fields, even outside physics.

For these reasons, Professor Chapman is awarded the Royal Astronomical Society James Dungey Lectureship for 2014.

Honorary Fellows

The RAS may honor any person eminent in the fields of astronomy or geophysics by election as an Honorary Fellow of the Society. This is typically in recognition of services to astronomical and geophysical sciences such as distinguished leadership of a school, observatory or laboratory; outstanding services to national or international scientific organizations; exceptionally important work in editing scientific publications; influential work in education and public outreach in these sciences; or specially outstanding distinguished work in the history of these sciences.

Honorary Fellows — Astronomy:

Professor Alain Omont

Professor Alain Omont of the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris is Research Director of the Center Nationale de la Research Scientific (CNRS). Alain has worked tirelessly in support of IRAM, GMRT, ALMA and other interferometric facilities. He is a key figure in the exploitation of ESA’s Herschel mission. Honorary Fellowship is conferred in recognition of his immense contributions to the field of astronomy during the last 50 years.

Professor Roberta Humphreys

Professor Roberta Humphreys, of the University of Minnesota School of Physics and Astronomy has been one of the key figures in the study of massive evolved stars. Her studies of these luminous evolved stars demonstrated the existence of an empirical upper luminosity boundary in the HR Diagram and by implication an upper limit to the masses of stars that could evolve to become red supergiants. Honorary Fellowship is conferred to mark her distinguished work in astrophysics.

Professor Josh Frieman

Professor Joshua Frieman is senior staff member in the Theoretical Astrophysics group at Fermilab Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. Frieman’s research centers on theoretical and observational cosmology, including studies of the nature of dark energy, the early universe, gravitational lensing, the large-scale structure of the universe, and supernovae as cosmological distance indicators. He is a founder of and currently serves as Director of the Dark Energy Survey, a collaboration of over 120 scientists from 20 institutions on 3 continents. Honorary Fellowship is conferred to mark his singular contributions to the study of dark energy.

Honorary Fellows — Geophysics:

RAS Honorary fellowships are awarded to overseas scientists, eminent in their research field, in recognition of their distinguished leadership, service at a national or international level, or outstanding education and outreach work.

Professor Rajmal Jain of the Physical Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad fulfills all of these criteria. Professor Jain, who in 2013 received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gujarat Science Academy, has led the development and exploitation of space and ground-based instrumentation in India, including the SOXS X-ray spectrometer flown successfully on the Indian GSAT-2 spacecraft. His enthusiasm for developing instrumentation over the years has inspired new generations in India to be involved in hardware projects. In the field of outreach, for the last 20 years he has organized scientific and telescope-making workshops for school students in several Indian states, promoting science and technology education in rural India. He has also given over 100 public lectures in the last few years.

For these reasons, Professor Rajmal Jain is awarded a Royal Astronomical Society Honorary Fellowship.

Further Information

More information on RAS Medals and Awards and past recipients is available at

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS,, founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS organizes scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, recognizes outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally. Its more than 3,500 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.

SpaceRef staff editor.