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The HEAD Dissertation Prize

The HEAD Dissertation Prize is awarded by the HEAD Executive Committee at the time of the Division Meeting (every 12-18 months, approximately) to recognize an outstanding doctoral dissertation in high-energy astrophysics. 

The 2022 Dissertation Prize Winner: Kishalay De

 The 2022 Dissertation Prize has been awarded to Kishalay De for his thesis entitled "The Whisper and the Bang: Cosmic Fireworks in the Lives of Compact Binaries", conducted at the California Institute of Technology under the supervision of Prof. Mansi M. Kasliwal. His thesis opened a new field of exploration in the dynamic infrared sky.  Please see the HEAD 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 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

Please note that nominations are not held over; nominations need to be re-submitted  for consideration in the next award cycle, 

The Award Process

Three finalists for the Dissertation Prize will be chosen by the Executive Committee from the list of nominees.  The three finalists will receive invitations to present 30-minute talks on their dissertation work at a scientific meeting organized by the HEAD.  The HEAD will re-imburse travel expenses (transportation and lodging) up to $1500 for the finalists and pay registration fees.  Each finalist will receive a certificate.  After the presentation, the HEAD Chair will announce the prize winner, who will receive the Dissertation Prize certificate.


The current deadline for nominations is October 15, 2023.