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The HEAD Distinguished Career Prize

The HEAD Distinguished Career Prize is awarded at the time of the Division Meeting to recognize an individual high-energy astrophysicist who has made outstanding contributions to the field of high energy astrophysics throughout their career.  Outstanding  contributions include a body of important research results (observational, theoretical or experimental) which have led to ground-breaking results in high-energy astrophysics, and/or a career of mentorship to a new generation of high-energy astrophysicists, especially if this mentorship helped to support under-represented or under-resourced scientists and increased the diversity of the HEA community.

The winner gives an invited talk at the Divisional Meeting in the award year.  The prize carries a cash award of $1500.  HEAD waives the meeting registration fee for the winner and covers up to $1500 of the awardee’s travel expenses  (transportation and lodging) to attend the meeting.  The name of the Prize winner is typically announced 2-3 months in advance of the Division meeting.


The career prize is intended to honor astrophysicists who have made significant contributions to the high energy astrophysics community which have not been recognized by previous award.  Nominations of previous winners of the Rossi Prize or other major awards are discouraged.

Any astrophysicist who is responsible for a body of work which has led to groundbreaking results in high energy astrophysics, and/or who has helped grow the HEA community through mentorship,  is eligible for the Distinguished Career Prize. There is no requirement for a nominee(s) to be a HEAD or an AAS member.  The nominee should typically be more than 15 years past the award of their PhD.  

The Nomination Process

The call for nominations is made to the Division typically 8-9 months before the Division meeting.  Generally, this announcement is made by the HEAD Secretary via e-mail.  The nomination deadline is typically 6 months before the Division meeting.

A nomination package should include:

  • A 1-2 page cover letter summarizing why the nominee’s career achievements are worthy of this award

  • A 1-2 page nomination statement, describing the achievements of the nominee, how they have significantly advanced high energy astrophysics and the HEA community.  The nomination statement should include reference to  published results with explanation of the significance  of these results to the field of high energy astrophysics. 

  • A 1-2 page letter of support for the nomination from three members in good standing in the HEA community, at least one of whom should be a HEAD member.

Self-nominations are allowed.

Nominations are submitted to the HEAD Secretary via e-mail. Nominations remain valid for those nominees not selected as awardees for a period of three years. For example, a person nominated in 2022 for the 2023 prize remains eligible for award in 2023, 2024 and 2025.  

The current deadline for nominations is October 1, 2022.