Five UC Santa Cruz astronomers are among the first class of AAS Fellows

Natalie Batalha
Sandra Faber
Douglas Lin
Claire Max
Stan Woosley

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), the major organization of professional astronomers in North America, has established a new accolade, Fellow of the AAS, to honor members for extraordinary achievement and service.

The AAS Board of Trustees has designated an initial group of more than 200 Legacy Fellows, including five faculty members in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. They are Professor Natalie Batalha, Professor Emerita Sandra Faber, Professor Emeritus Douglas Lin, Professor and Director of UC Observatories Claire Max, and Professor Emeritus Stan Woosley.

Also among this first class of honorees, E. Margaret Burbidge—the first woman to serve as AAS President (1976-1978)—was singled out as Inaugural Fellow.

AAS Fellows will be recognized for original research and publication, innovative contributions to astronomical techniques or instrumentation, significant contributions to education and public outreach, and noteworthy service to astronomy and to the society itself. Many other scientific societies acknowledge their members’ scientific accomplishments and service to the field by electing them as fellows, something the AAS hasn’t done before.

“Our members were missing out on the opportunity to not only celebrate the accomplishments of individual astronomers, but also the success of the field more generally,” said current AAS President Megan Donahue.

Beginning this year, there will be an annual call for nominations of new AAS Fellows. “I know that future AAS Presidents will take great pleasure in announcing the new class of Fellows during the prize ceremony that is a highlight of every winter AAS meeting,” Donahue said.