Astrophysicist Chryssa Kouveliotou Wins 2012 Dannie Heineman Prize
American Institute of Physics (AIP) and American Astronomical Society (AAS)
jointly honor renowned researcher
College Park, MD, January 26, 2012 — The American Institute of Physics (AIP) and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) are pleased to announce that renowned astrophysicist Chryssa Kouveliotou, Ph.D., has been selected as the 2012 recipient of the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics, which is given annually to recognize outstanding work in the field.
Her citation reads: "For her extensive accomplishments and discoveries in the areas of gamma ray bursts and their afterglows, soft gamma repeaters, and magnetars. Particularly notable are Dr. Kouveliotou’s abilities to create collaborations and her effectiveness and insights in using multiwavelength observations."
The award will be presented at the American Astronomical Society’s 221st Meeting, January 2013, in Long Beach, Calif., at which Kouveliotou will give a plenary lecture.
"I am very grateful and honored to be recognized by the community with this very important award," said Kouveliotou. "I am also very pleased to see the recognition of building collaborations, which I consider to be an indispensable tool in scientific research today."
Kouveliotou, an astrophysicist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has been the principal investigator on numerous research projects in the United States and Europe, and is the founding member of multiple scientific collaborations worldwide. Before joining NASA in 2004, she directed the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) Astronomy Program in Huntsville. She also served as deputy director of the Institute for Space Physics, Astronomy and Education, a joint research venture of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, NASA, and USRA.
Throughout her career, Kouveliotou has made numerous important contributions to the fields of astronomy and astrophysics. Her research has expanded our understanding of fleeting, transient phenomena in both our own Milky Way Galaxy and throughout the high-energy Universe. Besides determining many unique properties of the highly energetic emission of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), the brightest and most powerful events in the Universe, she was part of the team that identified the first GRB optical counterpart, revealing the extragalactic nature of these sources. She and her team made the first confirmed detection of magnetars, ultra-dense neutron stars – the cinders of stars after a supernova – that have incredibly powerful magnetic fields.
Kouveliotou received her Ph.D. from the Technical University of Munich, Germany. She earned her master's degree in science from the University of Sussex, England, and her bachelor's degree in physics from the National University of Athens, Greece.
She is a member of multiple advisory committees and boards, including NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Danish DARK Cosmology Center, and the American Association of Variable Star Observers.
Kouveliotou has received many awards for her work, including the Rossi Prize in 2003 and the NASA Space Act Award in 2005. She also won the 2004 Descartes Prize (the only U.S. team member). She is a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She has served as the chair of the Division of Astrophysics of the APS and in the Council of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). She is the past chair of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the AAS and the vice-chair of Commission E (Research in Astrophysics from Space) of the Committee on Space Research, headquartered in France. She was recently elected as the U.S. liaison of the Astrophysics Commission 19 of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, headquartered in England.
Kouveliotou recently edited, along with Ralph Wijers of the University of Amsterdam and Stan Woosley of the University of California at Santa Cruz, a Cambridge University Press Book on Gamma-Ray Bursts, which will be published in 2012.
"It's a pleasure to recognize an outstanding scientist like Dr. Kouveliotou for her groundbreaking research," said Fred Dylla, AIP executive director and CEO. "This award has helped to highlight discoveries that have changed the way we understand the world and our place in the cosmos. Dr. Kouveliotou certainly deserves this honor."
"The American Astronomical Society is thrilled to partner with AIP in presenting this award to Dr. Kouveliotou, who, in addition to fulfilling an active research career has been an active leader in our organization at the Division and Council levels," said Kevin Marvel, AAS executive officer. "I am thrilled that she has won this prestigious award."
The Heineman Prize is named after Dannie N. Heineman, an engineer, business executive, and philanthropic sponsor of the sciences. The prize was established in 1979 by the Heineman Foundation for Research, Education, Charitable and Scientific Purposes, Inc.
Awarded annually, the prize consists of $10,000 and a certificate citing the contributions made by the recipient plus travel expenses to attend the meeting at which the prize is bestowed.
The American Institute of Physics (AIP) is an organization of 10 physical science societies, representing more than 135,000 scientists, engineers, and educators. As one of the world's largest publishers of scientific information in physics, AIP employs innovative publishing technologies and offers publishing services for its Member Societies. AIP's suite of publications includes 15 journals, three of which are published in partnership with other societies; magazines, including its flagship publication Physics Today; and the AIP Conference Proceedings series. Through its Physics Resources Center, AIP also delivers valuable services and expertise in education and student programs, science communications, government relations, career services for science and engineering professionals, statistical research, industrial outreach, and the history of physics and other sciences.
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