• W. M. Keck Observatory Astronomers Among the Authors Awarded the 2020 AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize

    February 14, 2021
    Discovery Of A Single Fast Radio Burst’s Home Galaxy Wins Prestigious Award
    Posted February 9, 2021


    W. M. Keck Observatory Astronomers Among the Authors Awarded the 2020 AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize

    Maunakea, Hawaii – A historic feat in successfully zeroing in on the precise location of a non-repeating fast radio burst has earned the highest recognition from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

    The international team that made the breakthrough discovery has won the prestigious 2020 AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize, which goes to the most impactful research paper published in the journal Science.

    “Given the robust research AAAS publishes across a variety of scientific fields, it’s a great honor to have this work selected for the Newcomb Cleveland Prize,” says W. M. Keck Observatory Chief Scientist John O’Meara, a co-author of the study. “There was a global team of astronomers involved in this work, and it’s wonderful to see such a large collaboration earn this distinction for an exciting science result.”

    AAAS made the announcement today at its 187th AAAS Annual Meeting; authors will receive the award tomorrow, February 10, 2021, during a virtual ceremony.

    The winning paper, “A single fast radio burst localized to a massive galaxy at cosmological distance,” was published in Science on August 9, 2019 and includes key data obtained using Keck Observatory on Maunakea in Hawaiʻi.

    “Keck’s world-leading instrument and the nimbleness of its Target of Opportunity program let us measure the galaxy’s distance within hours after the fast radio burst was localized,” says co-author J. Xavier Prochaska of University of California, Santa Cruz, who coordinated the team that used the Keck Cosmic Web Imager on the Keck II telescope to measure the distance of the FRB’s home.