Thursday, June 2, 2011

AAS Prizes – Self-Nominations

You have probably realized that the deadline for nominations for AAS prizes has shifted earlier, to June 30. This means you still have a few weeks to submit nominations. Those of us who are frustrated at the continued dearth of women prize recipients should know that this is because of a dearth of nominations (so I am told by prize committees) – indeed, there are few nominations of anyone, but especially women. So, it would be great if we could rectify that.

What you may not know, because it is a newer change, is that for the first time, and for a 5-year trial period, self nominations will be enabled for the Warner and Pierce prizes. In order that self-nominations not be visibly different from colleague-nominations, the prize package will consist of the 3 letters of support, not including the usual nomination letter. It was felt by the AAS Council, who took this decision, that the nominee pools for these prizes are usually too small, and that senior astronomers may not know the junior candidates eligible for these prizes well enough to fix that problem, whereas self-nominations will almost surely lead to a larger (and we hope more divers) pool of candidates – which can only enhance the luster of the prize.

So, young astronomers: please do not be shy! Nominate yourself or ask a colleague to help you. All you need to do is line up 3 letters supporting your nomination. Rules for all prizes can be found on the AAS web site: http://aas.org/grants

From: Meg Urry [meg.urry@yale.edu]