In Summary

  • The prestigious David Allen Prize recognises exceptional achievement in astronomy communication
  • The prize is awarded during the ASA’s Annual Scientific Meeting, hosted by Swinburne this year
  • Associate Professor Alan Duffy featured in the 2018 Stargazing Live program

The ABC’s Stargazing Live 2017 program has been awarded the 2018 David Allen Prize for exceptional achievement in astronomy communication from the Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA).

The ASA awarded this prestigious prize during its Annual Scientific Meeting hosted by Swinburne University of Technology.

The prize is awarded to individuals, groups or organisations that engage a broad audience in astronomy in a way that entertains, informs and maintains scientific integrity.

Hosted by Professor Brian Cox and Julia Zemiro, Stargazing Live accurately and interestingly conveyed science concepts, instilling many with a new-found interest in astronomy.

Swinburne Associate Professor Alan Duffy, who featured in the 2018 program, says it was able to succinctly communicate complex ideas and engage an audience of new and aspiring astronomers.

“In 2017, tens of thousands of stargazers logged on to the show online and helped analyse the data that identified a new solar system. The greatest outcome from Stargazing Live will be in the years to come as thousands of new scientists have been inspired by this incredible effort,” Associate Professor Duffy says.

ASA President Professor Stuart Wyithe says this show will foster Australia’s leadership in astronomy on the international stage.

“Communicating astronomical discoveries and achievements to the broadest possible audience is really valuable to the professional astronomical community. It inspires the general public and helps to attract students to the field,” Professor Wyithe says.

ABC’s Head of Factual Steve Bibb, who commissioned the series, says it is a great honour for the ABC to receive this prestigious award from the ASA.

“This much-appreciated award acknowledges the ABC’s commitment to high-quality and distinctive content and pays tribute to the many people who worked very hard behind the scenes to bring astronomy to so many Australians,” Mr Bibb says.

The ASA awards several prizes during their Annual Scientific Meeting. The winners of the 2018 awards are:

Bok Prize for outstanding research in astronomy by an Honours or eligible Masters Student, awarded to Matthew Keen from the University of Sydney for his work in asteroseismology or starquakes.

Charlene Heisler Prize for the most outstanding PhD thesis in astronomy, awarded to Dr Anish Amarsi from the Australian National University for his work in stellar spectroscopy and modelling the chemical make-up of low-temperature stars.

Louise Webster Prize for outstanding research by a scientist early in their post-doctoral career, awarded to Dr Emily Wisnioski from the Australian National University for her work in galaxy evolution and as the scientific lead of the impressive KMOS (K-band Multi-Object Spectrograph) 3D survey using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope.

Anne Green Prize for a significant advance or accomplishment by a mid-career scientist, awarded to Dr Barbara Catinella from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research for her achievements as an internationally recognised radio astronomer who has made unique contributions to the studies of cold gas and star-formation in galaxies.

Berenice and Arthur Page Medal for excellence in amateur astronomy, awarded to Professor David Moriarty (a retired biochemist from the University of Queensland) for his work in amateur astronomy on eclipsing binary stars.