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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

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