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Aaronson Lectureship

In order to create a fitting tribute to the memory of Marc Aaronson, his family, friends, and colleagues have established and privately endowed the Marc Aaronson Memorial Lectureship to promote and recognize excellence in astronomical research. The Lectureship and cash prize are awarded every eighteen months to an individual or group who, by his or her passion for research and dedication to excellence, has produced a body of work in observational astronomy which has resulted in a significant deepening of our understanding of the universe. Any living scientist is eligible for this award without consideration of race, sex, or nationality.

Marc Aaronson came to Steward Observatory as a postdoc after receiving his PhD degree from Harvard in 1977 and became an Associate Professor in 1983. His astronomical research focused on many of the most important problems of observational cosmology: the cosmic distance scale, the age of the Universe, the large-scale motion of matter, and the distribution of invisible mass in the Universe. Aaronson made important contributions to our understanding of stellar populations in the Large Magellanic Cloud. In recognition of his research achievements, Aaronson was awarded the George Van Biesbroeck Award by the University of Arizona in 1981, the Bart J. Bok Prize by Harvard University in 1983, and the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize by the American Astronomical Society in 1984.

Aaronson died in 1987 in a freak accident while doing what he loved most, making astronomical observations. He was only 36 years old. Aaronson's passionate love for astronomy continues to serve as a lasting inspiration to his many colleagues, students and friends and serves as the inspiration for this award.

Donate here to support the Marc Aaronson endowment. Proceeds from this endowment support the Aaronson Prize.

[Historical note: we had an Aaronson 30th Anniversary Symposium in April 2017. The website is HERE.]

Previous Aaronson Lecturers

  • 2019 Dr. Jenny Greene, Priceton University


  • 2015 Dr. Vasily Belokurov, Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK


  • 2014 Dr. Alice Shapley, UCLA


  • 2012 Dr. Pieter van Dokkum, Yale University


  • 2010 Dr. J. Davy Kirkpatrick, California Institute of Technology


  • 2008 Dr. Michael E. Brown, California Institute of Technology


  • 2007 Dr. Andrea M. Ghez, University of California, Los Angeles


  • 2005 Dr. Brian Schmidt, Mt. Stromlo/Siding Spring Observatories, Australia


  • 2004 Dr. Lyman Page, Jr., Princeton University


  • 2002 Dr. Geoffrey W. Marcy, University of California, Berkeley


  • 2001 Dr. Ewine van Dishoeck, University of Zeiden, The Netherlands


  • 1999 Dr. Bohdan Paczynski, Princeton University


  • 1998 Dr. John C. Mather, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


  • 1996 Dr. J. Anthony Tyson, Bell Laboratories/Lucent Technologies


  • 1994 Dr. Wendy Freedman, The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington


  • 1993 Dr. Nick Scoville, California Institute of Technology


  • 1992 Dr. John Huchra, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics


  • 1990 Dr. Kenneth C. Freeman, Mount Stromlo/Siding Spring Observatories, Australia


  • 1989 Dr. Robert Kirshner, Harvard University


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