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HEAD Dissertation Prize

The HEAD Dissertation Prize is awarded by the HEAD Executive Committee at the time of the Division Meeting (every 18 months) to recognize an outstanding doctoral dissertation in high-energy astrophysics. The winner of the prize will receive a certificate, a cash award of $1000, and an invitation to give a 30-minute invited talk at the HEAD Meeting. HEAD will waive the meeting registration fee for the winner and cover up to $1500 of the winner's travel expenses to attend the meeting.

2019 Jennifer Barnes

Jennifer Barnes of Columbia University has been awarded the 2019 HEAD Dissertation prize for her dissertation entitled "Radiation Transport Modeling of Kilonovae and Broad-Lined Ic Supernovae." This work also involves gravitational waves. It established the radiative signatures of mergers between two neutron stars or a neutron star and black hole, as well as the radiative signatures of jet-driven supernovae produced by collapsing massive stars. Please see the press release for more information.

Citations of previous Dissertation prize winners


The Nomination Process

Those who have received their degree within 3 years prior to the HEAD meeting date are eligible for the prize. Those who have not had their degree conferred by the nomination deadline should wait for the next opportunity to apply.

The due date for nomination materials to be submitted to the HEAD Secretary will be approximately six months before the HEAD division meeting. Materials should be submitted via email to the HEAD Secretary at headsec@aas.org. The following materials should be submitted, with at least one letter written by a HEAD member (letters of recommendation may be sent directly to the HEAD secretary). Self-nominations are not accepted.:

  • A 3-page summary of the thesis (not to exceed 5 pages total including figures and bibliography)
  • A nomination letter, nominally by the thesis supervisor and acceptably by any HEAD member except the nominee, including a statement certifying that the PhD has been awarded
  • Two additional letters of recommendation
  • CV and publication list