Two Women Scholars Honored by the American Astronomical Society

The American Astronomical Society was founded in 1899 and it is based in Washington, D.C. The society is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. Its membership of about 7,000 individuals also includes physicists, mathematicians, geologists, and engineers. Recently, the society announced that two of its major awards will be given to women professors at high-ranking educational institutions.

Sarbani Basu, professor and chair of the department of astronomy at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, has been selected to receive the 2018 George Ellery Hale Prize from the Solar Physics Division of the society. The society stated that Professor Basu was honored for “her many seminal contributions to our understanding of the internal structure and dynamics of the Sun and stars.” Professor Basu joined the faculty at Yale in 2000. She is a graduate of the University of Madras in Indiana. Dr. Basu earned a master’s degree in physics at the University of Pune and a Ph.D. at the University of Bombay.

Debra Elmegreen is the Maria Mitchell Professor of Astronomy at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. She has been selected to receive the George van Biesbroeck Prize. The award is given every two years to a scientist who has made outstanding contributions to the field. The society stated that Dr. Elmegreen is being honored for “her unselfish service to astronomy on regional, national, and international scales, including strengthening public appreciation and support for astronomy, making our community more diverse and inclusive, and acting as a role model and mentor to generations of young astronomers.” Dr. Elmegreen has taught at Vassar College for 32 years and is a past president of the American Astronomical Society. Professor Elmegreen is a graduate of Princeton University in New Jersey, where she majored in astrophysics. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University.

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