David Spergel, director of the Center for Computational Astrophysics (CCA), is among 232 astronomers and astrophysicists honored as the first class of fellows of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). The distinction recognizes the honorees for enhancing and sharing humanity’s scientific understanding of the universe.
“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 AAS President Megan Donahue in an announcement. “The AAS Fellows program will increase the visibility and prestige of astronomy within our organizations.”
The initial group of AAS fellows includes past recipients of AAS awards, distinguished AAS leaders, and previously unrecognized individuals with long histories of outstanding research, teaching, mentoring and service. The society previously awarded Spergel the 2015 Dannie Heineman Prize for astrophysics, the 2014 AAS Kavli lectureship and the 1994 Helen B. Warner Prize.
In addition to directing the CCA, Spergel is the Charles A. Young Professor of Astronomy emeritus at Princeton University. His research interests include the hunt for planets orbiting nearby stars and the shape of the universe. Spergel received the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in fundamental physics for his contributions to the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), a mission that mapped the early universe and sparked new insights into the evolution of the cosmos and the formation of galaxies.
Spergel’s other honors and awards include the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal, the Shaw Prize in astronomy, and a MacArthur fellowship. He is also a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences.