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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 Nineteenth Divisional Meeting of the HEAD will be 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.  

HEAD Frontier Seminar Series:

Next Seminar: The HEAD Virtual Seminar Series for 2020 has concluded.  Our thanks to all presenters. In 2021, the series was renamed as the Frontier Seminar Series. Videos of the presentations are available on the HEAD Frontier Seminar Series pages.  We will resume the Frontier Seminar Series in April, 2021.

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.

Signup 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.  


  • NASA announced the selection of  the Compton Spectrometer and Imager (COSI), led by John Tomsick (UC Berkeley), as the next small explorer mission.  COSI will survey the entire gamma-ray sky every day at energies between 0.2 and 5 MeV, with launch expected in 2025.
  • Dr. Allessandra Corsi, Dr. Gregg Hallinan, Dr. Mansi Manoj Kasliwal and Dr. Raffaella Margutti have been awarded the 2022 New Horizons in Physics Prize "For leadership in laying foundations for electromagnetic observations of sources of gravitational waves, and leadership in extracting rich information from the first observed collision of two neutron stars. 
  • Dr. Victoria Kaspi and Dr. Chryssa Kouveliotou have won the 2021 Shaw Prize in Astronomy, "for their contributions to our understanding of magnetars, a class of highly magnetized neutron stars that are linked to a wide range of spectacular, transient astrophysical phenomena.ties". 
  • The 18th Divisional Meeting has been Cancelled. The 18th Divisional meeting of the High Energy Astrophysics Division was scheduled to be held at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa.  However, due to the corona virus pandemic, this meeting was cancelled.  The HEAD Executive Committee considered holding the 18th meeting as a meeting-in-a-meeting at the 238th AAS meeting in June 2021 in Anchorage.  However, since the decision was made that the 238th meeting will be held online (because of the CoVID pandemic), the HEAD Executive Committee has decided not to participate in the virtual meeting.  Thus we made the decision to cancel the 18th Divisional meeting.  The next HEAD meeting is the 19th Divisional Meeting to be held (we hope) as an in-person meeting in Pittsburgh, in March 2022.
  • The HEAD Executive Committee is pleased to announce the following HEAD Award winners:  The 2021 Bruno Rossi Prize has been awarded to Francis Halzen and the IceCube Collaboration "for the discovery of a high-energy neutrino flux of astrophysical origin".  The 2021 Mid-Career Prize has been awarded to Anna Watts, "for her trailblazing work in the understanding of neutron star fluid dynamics, and developing and applying rigorous inference to obtain observational constraints on dense matter". The 2021 HEAD Dissertation Prize was awarded to Renee Ludlam for her dissertation entitled "A Hard Look at Accretion Around Neutron Stars". Her work showed how accretion disk reflection can be used to place limits on neutron star radii (and therefore the equation of state). The inaugural HEAD Innovation Prize was awarded to Dr. Richard Kelley "for his unflagging effort to make the transformational capabilities of the X-ray microcalorimeter available to the high energy astrophysics community". Congratulations to all the award winners. Please see the HEAD press release for more information.
  • 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.
  • Upcoming HEA Meetings
  • Older Items

Have a picture relevant to high-energy astrophysics you'd like to see on the HEAD page? Contact the webmaster to submit with an image and short description.