APS News

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin Doctoral Dissertation Award in Astrophysics

Foundation supports re-named astrophysics dissertation honor.

August 15, 2018

Thanks to a generous grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation, APS is pleased to announce the endowment of the Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin Doctoral Dissertation Award in Astrophysics. Established in 2013 and initially sponsored by the APS Division of Astrophysics (DAP), it was previously known as the Doctoral Dissertation Award in Astrophysics and annually recognizes an exemplary doctoral thesis in astrophysics research.

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin was one of the pre-eminent astronomers of the 20th Century and made seminal contributions to the study of stellar astrophysics. Notable and distinguished astronomers, Otto Struve and Velta Zebergs, said that Payne-Gaposchkin’s thesis “Stellar Atmospheres, A Contribution to the Observational Study of High Temperature in the Reversing Layers of Stars” was, “undoubtedly the most brilliant Ph.D. thesis ever written in astronomy.” The first person to obtain a Ph.D. in Astronomy from Radcliffe College in 1925, Payne-Gaposchkin was also the first woman promoted to a tenured professorship at Harvard University, where she spent her entire career.

This renaming, to honor the memory and legacy of Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, is effective immediately with the inaugural award to be presented in 2019. Nominations for the 2019 award are being accepted through Friday, November 30th, 2018. APS is grateful to all those who contributed in this endowment campaign. For upcoming opportunities to participate in an honors endeavour, see the APS Giving page or contact Mariam Mehter, APS Campaign and Donor Relations Manager at (mehter@aps.org) or (301) 209-3639.

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin photo
Smithsonian Institution

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin

News Update Archive

View Archive


APS News

Read Current Issue


Recent News Update
APS Fellows Among Winners of the 2021 Breakthrough Prizes
The Breakthrough Prize Foundation has announced the recipients of its 2021 prizes, recognizing individuals who have made profound contributions in physics.
2020 Apker Award Finalists
On August 9 and 10, seven bright young physicists presented their research to the selection committee for the LeRoy Apker Award.
2021 APS Medal for Exceptional Achievement in Research Awarded to Gordon Baym
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor to receive top APS honor
New APS Special Projects Organizer
OGA Team Member Helps Build Nuclear Threat Reduction Coalition
Jonathan Bagger Selected as Next APS CEO
New CEO to start in 2021
Joan Feynman 1927–2020
Joan Feynman, an astrophysicist known for her discovery of the origin of auroras, died on July 21. She was 93.