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2019 Laboratory Astrophysics Prize

2019 LAD Laboratory Astrophysics Prize Goes to Lucy Ziurys

Lucy ZiurysThe Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is awarding its 2019 Laboratory Astrophysics Prize to Prof. Lucy Ziurys of the University of Arizona for her outstanding contributions to rotational spectroscopy of transient molecules and radio astronomy.

The Laboratory Astrophysics Prize, LAD's highest honor, is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to laboratory astrophysics over an extended period of time. For decades Ziurys has pioneered innovative experimental techniques to study the rotational spectra and structure of transient molecules -- short-lived molecules that arise during intermediate steps in chemical reactions and radiate at specific wavelengths when their rotational state changes. These molecules are key to understanding the composition, physical state, and evolution of interstellar and circumstellar material and to interpreting data derived from radio telescopes such as the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The strong synergy developed by Ziurys between astrophysical molecular spectroscopy and radio astronomy has significantly advanced our understanding of the evolution of the molecular composition of our universe through the detection of new interstellar species.

Ziurys received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and is now Professor of Chemistry/Biochemistry and Astronomy at the University of Arizona in Tucson. She is the author of more than 300 publications in molecular rotational spectroscopy and astrophysics. Previous honors include fellowship in the American Physical Society (APS) and receipt of the Barbara Mez-Starck Prize in Molecular Spectroscopy. In addition to serving the community as Director of the Arizona Radio Observatory (ARO), she was a member of the Committee on the Origin and Evolution of Life in the universe for the National Academies Space Studies Board, the Committee on Radio Frequencies for the National Academies Board on Physics & Astronomy, and the AAS Laboratory Astrophysics Working Group (the precursor to LAD). She was also on the editorial board of the Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy.

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.

Randall Smith
LAD Chair
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
+1 (617) 495-7143

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

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

Lucy Ziurys
University of Arizona
+1 (520) 621-6525

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.