The American Astronomical Society has awarded three of its society prizes to scientists who have used SDSS data extensively in their work.
1) Chris Lintott (Oxford University and Adler Planetarium) was awarded the 2014 biennial Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize for creative and innovative contributions to research.
“With great insight and creativity, he created a transformative approach to science by engaging nonscientists in cutting-edge research via Zooniverse.org. He demonstrated the unique capabilities of ‘crowdsourcing’ to attack otherwise intractable problems and, in the process, created a unique educational tool that is also an unparalleled public-outreach phenomenon.”
SDSS data served as the main source for the GalaxyZoo project that started the wildly successful Zooniverse enterprise. Other key SDSS people involved in setting up GalaxyZoo include Karen Masters (University of Portsmouth) now serving as the GalaxyZoo Project Scientist, Daniel Thomas (University of Portsmouth), Kate Land (Oxford), Kevin Schawinski (Oxford), Jordan Raddick (Johns Hopkins University), Alex Szalay (Johns Hopkins University), Anže Slozar (Brookhaven National Lab), Steven Bamford (University of Nottingham), Bob Nichol (University of Portsmouth), and Jan Vandenberg (Johns Hopkins University). For some history on the GalaxyZoo project and its evolution into Zooniverse see http://arxiv.org/abs/1104.5513 by Fortson et al.
We also congratulate two scientists whose PhD theses were based on SDSS observations and who received AAS young-astronomer awards based in significant part on the work that came out of their theses and subsequent developments.
2) Nadia Zakamska (Johns Hopkins University) was awarded the 2014 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize for research in observational astronomy by an young scientist
“for her multi-wavelength work on Type II quasars, which has characterized these energetic sources in detail and led to the current “standard model” of quasars. […] Her observational and theoretical work has shown that “feedback” from AGN is occurring on scales of tens of thousands of light-years.”
SDSS data were central to Dr. Zakamska’s PhD work on quasars and continued efforts in this area.
3) Chris Hirata (Ohio State University) was awarded the Helen B. Warner Prize for research by a young astronomer
“for his remarkable cosmological studies, particularly his observational and theoretical work on weak gravitational lensing, one of the most important tools for assessing the distribution of mass in the universe. […] His work is facilitating the next generation of important cosmological experiments.”
Dr. Hirata’s PhD thesis on gravitational lensing was heavily based on analysis of SDSS data.
SDSS congratulations and recognizes these three excellent scientists along with all of the 2014 AAS award recipients.