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2017 Laboratory Astrophysics Prize

2017 LAD Laboratory Astrophysics Prize Goes to James E. (Jim) Lawler

Jim LawlerThe Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is pleased to announce that its 2017 Laboratory Astrophysics Prize, given to an individual who has made significant contributions to laboratory astrophysics over an extended period of time, goes to James E. (Jim) Lawler (University of Wisconsin, Madison) for his contributions in atomic physics to advance our understanding of galactic nucleosynthesis and chemical evolution. His spectroscopic work has opened a new era of stellar chemistry by advancing our ability to compare nucleosynthesis predictions with accurate relative elemental abundances.

Lawler has dedicated much of his career to developing innovative techniques and technologies for precise measurements of atomic transition probabilities needed in analyses of stellar spectra. He pioneered improved hollow cathode atomic beam sources on which time-resolved laser-induced fluorescence is used for determining accurate radiative lifetimes and branching fractions. He and his colleagues generated data on numerous lines for neutral and ionized rare-earth and iron-group atoms for extracting elemental abundances for the Sun and other stars as well as for the interstellar medium.

Lawler received his PhD in atomic physics from the Department of Physics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he is the Arthur and Aurelia Schawlow Professor of Physics. His previous honors include Fellowship in the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America, and the UK Institute of Physics. He received the W. P. Allis Prize of the American Physical Society in 1992 and the Penning Award of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics in 1995. He has served as an editor for the Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer and for Journal of Physics D. He has trained 35 graduate students who have gone on to prominent careers in academia and industry.

The LAD Laboratory Astrophysics Prize includes a cash award, a framed certificate, and an invited lecture by the recipient at a meeting of the Laboratory Astrophysics Division.

Farid Salama
LAD Chair
NASA Ames Research Center, California
+1 (650)-604-3384

Steven Federman
LAD Past-Chair
University of Toledo, Ohio
+1 (419) 530-2652

Daniel Wolf Savin
LAD Secretary
Columbia University, New York
+1 (212) 854-4124

Jim Lawler
University of Wisconsin
+1 (608) 262-2918

The AAS Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD, advances our understanding of the universe through the promotion of fundamental theoretical and experimental research into the underlying processes that drive the cosmos.

The American Astronomical Society (AAS,, established in 1899 and based in Washington, DC, is the major organization of professional astronomers in North America. The mission of the AAS is to enhance and share humanity's scientific understanding of the universe.