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High Energy Astrophysics Division

The AAS High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) assists and promotes the advancement of research and the dissemination of knowledge about high energy events, particles, quanta, relativistic gravitational fields, and related phenomena in the astrophysical universe. HEAD also promotes the coordination of this research and knowledge with other branches of science. The division holds Division Meetings every 18 months, as well as sessions within the meetings of the American Astronomical Society. Each year, HEAD awards the Rossi Prize for recent original research in High Energy Astrophysics. At each Division Meeting, HEAD announces the Schramm Award for High Energy Astrophysics Science Journalism, the Mid-Career Prize, and the Dissertation Prize. The electronic HEAD Newsletter is published twice yearly. HEAD membership information is managed within the AAS database at AAS Member Directory.

50th Anniversary of the High Energy Astrophysics Division

2019 marks the 50th Anniversary of the High Energy Astrophysics Division.  We are soliciting HEAD members and others to submit stories, photos, important events, etc.  of the HEAD during the past 50 years. If you have something to contribute, please send it to the HEAD secretary (  Also, please see Virginia Trimble's retrospective on the history of the HEAD (and High Energy Astrophysics in general) over the last 50 years, originally presented at the 17th Divisional Meeting in Monterey, and Christine Jones's remembrances of Riccardo Giacconi from that same meeting

Upcoming Meeting:

The 18th Divisional meeting of the High Energy Astrophysics Division, scheduled to take place 13-17 September 2020 in Tucson, AZ at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa, has been cancelled due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.  For registration refunds, please contact Please contact the Starr Pass Resort (+1-888-236-2427) to cancel room reservations.  The Executive Committee is currently considering alternatives, like a virtual HEAD meeting or an in-person meeting (perhaps a Meeting-in-a-Meeting at the 238th AAS Summer meeting in Anchorage, Alaska).

Update (June 19, 2020): The 18TH Divisional Meeting of the HEAD will be held as part of the 238th AAS Meeting — 6–10 June 2021 in Anchorage, AK. Details will be posted in the near future.

HEAD Virtual Seminar Series:

Next Seminar: The next HEAD Virtual Seminar will be held Friday, July 31st at noon EDT (4pm UTC) The presenters are Yvette Cendes, Center for Astrophysics, Thankful Cromartie, University of Virginia, and Kevin Burdge, CalTech. See the HEAD Virtual Seminar Series page for details and abstracts.

The Virtual Seminar Series is held via Zoom.  Zoom Connection details will be sent to all HEAD members. Contact the HEAD Secretary if you'd like the Zoom meeting information.

Signup at the  HEAD Virtual Seminar signup page to propose a future talk. Talks may be proposed at any time, and will remain in consideration for future seminars unless retracted by the speaker. Talks to be considered for the next seminar must be received by the first of the month.  


  • Because the 18th Divisional meeting has been delayed to June 2021, the HEAD EC has decided to extend the nomination deadline for the HEAD Dissertation Prize, the HEAD Mid-Career Prize and the HEAD Innovation Prize to August 31, 2020.
  • A Special Statement from the HEAD Executive Committee to support Black Americans. Please also see the call from AAS President, Megan Donahue in support of Black Americans. Please also see the statement from the Division of Planetary Science.
  • The 2020 David N. Schramm Award for high-energy astrophysics science journalism has been awarded to Steve Nadis for his article entitled His article, "Ripple Effect," which appeared in the May 2019 issue of Discover Magazine.  The award was announced via a press release issued on May 13, 2020.
  • Dr. Roger Blandford has won the 2020 Shaw Prize in Astronomy, for his foundational contributions to theoretical astrophysics, especially concerning the fundamental understanding of active galactic nuclei, the formation and collimation of relativistic jets, the energy extraction mechanism from black holes, and the acceleration of particles in shocks and their relevant radiation mechanisms
  • Dr. Andrew Fabian has won the 2020 Kavli Prize for Astrophysics, for his pioneering research and persistence in pursuing the mystery of how black holes influence their surrounding galaxies on both large and small scales.
  • The deadline for nominations to the Dissertation, Mid-Career and Innovation prizes has been extended to June 1, 2020.
  • On March 16, 2020, NASA selected for further study the Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI)  and The Extreme-ultraviolet Stellar Characterization for Atmospheric Physics and Evolution (ESCAPE) Small Explorer mission proposals, along with the Gravitational-wave Ultraviolet Counterpart Imager and the LargE Area burst Polarimeter (LEAP) Mission of Opportunity proposals.  Two of the proposed missions will be downselected in 2021, with launch anticipated in 2025.  See the NASA press release for further details.
  • The 2020 Bruno Rossi Prize has been awarded to Sheperd Doeleman and the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) Team for "their landmark image and analysis of the first shadow of a black hole. Please see the HEAD Press Release for more information
  • The 2020 winter meeting of the AAS, AAS 235, begins on January 4, 2020.  A schedule of meeting talks and events of interest to HEAD members is available on the HEAD AAS 235 meeting page.
  • Upcoming HEA Meetings
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