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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 marked 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 Twenty-Second Meeting of the HEAD will be held 2025 October 10-16 at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark, St. Louis, MO.

Recent Meetings:

The Twenty-First Divisional Meeting of the HEAD will be held 2024 April 7-12, Horsehoe Bay Resort, Texas.  Horseshoe Bay is near the  center of totality for the total solar eclipse which occurs Monday April 8 from 12:16pm to 2:57pm CDT (totality from 1:34pm to 1:38pm). Please save the date, and more information about the meeting will be available late summer, 2023

The Twentieth Divisional Meeting of the HEAD was held 2023 March 26-30, at the Hilton Waikaloa Village, HI. Please see the science program for lists of talks and posters.  Pictures of the meeting, and videos of the oral talks, are available. (Please note that currently only registered meeting attendees can view the videos.)

The Nineteenth Divisional Meeting of the HEAD was held from March 13-17, 2022, at the William Penn Omni, Pittsburgh, PA.  The William Penn Omni is a grand historic hotel that first opened in 1916 and is a Pittsburgh landmark.  Videos of the oral presentations are available.  Please see the photos  from the meeting, taken by the "court photographer" Felix Fuerst.

HEAD Frontier Seminar Series:

The most recent Frontier Seminar was Friday, December 8, at 1pm EST.  

Please see the HEAD Frontier Seminar Series for details on scheduled talks.

You can sign up at the  HEAD Frontier 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.  

Videos of the presentations are available on the HEAD Frontier Seminar Series pages.  We will resume the Frontier Seminar Series in December, 2023.

The Frontier Seminars are held via Zoom.  Zoom Connection details will be sent to all HEAD members when the talks are scheduled. Contact the HEAD Secretary if you're a non-HEAD member and you'd like the Zoom meeting information.


  • HEAD awards for 2024 were announced at the HEAD Business meeting at the 243rd AAS meeting in New Orleans.  The three Dissertation Prize finalists are Milena Crnogorcevic for her thesis “New Messengers & New Physics: A Survey of the High-energy Universe”, Brenna Mockler for “Exploring Galactic Nuclei with Tidal Disruption Events” and Tyler Parsotan for “Monte Carlo Radiation Transfer Simulations of Gamma Ray Burst Prompt Emission”.  The Early Career Prize was awarded to Yuanyuan Su, “for innovative contributions in understanding baryon physics in galaxy groups and clusters”.  The Mid-Career Prize was awarded to Samaya Nissanke, “for the development of novel techniques to extract fundamental physics from astronomical data, paving the way for the era of gravitational-wave multi-messenger astronomy.”.  The Innovation Prize was awarded to Javier García, Thomas Dauser & Tim Kallman, "for the development of novel models to describe emission in the strong gravity regime from accreting compact objects.”.  The Distinguished Career Prize was awarded to Roger Chevalier, “for pioneering work on a wide range of topics in the field of high-energy astrophysics, including the structure and evolution of supernova remnants, gamma ray bursts, pulsar winds, galactic winds, hydrodynamics, and shocks”. Please see the press release for more information. The 2024 Bruno Rossi Prize was awarded to Martin Weisskopf, Paolo Soffitta, and the IXPE team, “for their development of the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer whose novel measurements advance our understanding of particle acceleration and emission from astrophysical shocks, black holes and neutron stars”.  Congratulations to all the winners!

  • The results of the 2023 HEAD election are in!  Dr. Colleen Wilson Hodge has been elected as Vice-Chair, and Dr. Paul Pluncinsky and Dr. Carolyn Kierans have been elected as members on the Executive Committee.  Our thanks to Francesca Civano, Ralph Kraft, Maxim Markevitch, Michela Negro, and Irina Zhuravleva for their willingness to stand for election and to serve our community, and our thanks to Tom Maccarone and Terri Brandt who are completing their term as members of the Executive Committee, and to Fiona Harrison who's finishing her term as HEAD Past Chair.

  • Congratulations to HEAD member Dr. Christine Jones Forman on her election to the National Academies of Sciences.

  • Congratulations to HEAD member Prof. Priyamvada Natarajan (Yale) on election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

  • Thanks to the generosity of Hale Bradt, we’re happy to report that his fascinating book on the making of the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer mission, “Chasing Black Holes: An Insider’s View of a Space Astronomy Mission (RXTE)” is now available for free to all HEAD members. “Hale Bradt’s behind-the-scenes book is a gripping view of the 20-year scientific, technical and personal struggle to create a new field of high time-resolution X-ray astronomy from concept to orbit.  The Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer broke new, high ground in the study of high frequency X-ray phenomena, and made major, revolutionary discoveries on all timescales.” The book is available in epub and pdf versions.  Please read, and feel free to share the link with students, colleagues, and friends without restriction. 

  • We'd like to congratulate the winners of the Student Poster Prize for posters presented at the 20th Divisional Meeting last month.  The winner of the Graduate Student Poster prize was Megan Masterson of MIT for her poster "Hard X-ray Flares in NICER Monitoring of Binary SMBH Candidate AT2019cuk".  The winner of the Undergraduate Poster prize was Zachary Andalman (Yale) for his poster "Understanding Broad Line Emission in Tidal Disruption Events".  Honorable mentions were awarded to graduate students Samalka Anandagoda (Clemson) and Kenneth Buffo (University of Iowa), and undergrad Dana Kullgren (University of Delaware / Northwestern University).  

  • 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.

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