The Michelson Interferometry Prize

Michelson Prize Website at the Mount Wilson Observatory

Name of Prize

The Michelson Prize for Contributions to Astronomical Optical Interferometry ("The Michelson Prize").

Purpose of Prize

To provide recognition within the interferometry community, as well as in the broader science community, of science research programs and results from the rapidly growing field of optical interferometry, and to assist the Mount Wilson Institute (MWI) and the IAU Commission with engaging the community in promoting the future of optical interferometry.

Prize Authority

The Michelson Prizes will be a joint program of the IAU Commission 54 and of the MWI.

Prize Sponsor

The Michelson Prize will be sponsored by the Mount Wilson Institute, a non-profit corporation that operates the Mount Wilson Observatory (MWO) under an agreement with the Carnegie Institution of Washington. MWO is a world-renowned historical site in the development of optical interferometry, and the MWI has played and continues to play a significant role in the development of the field. The IAU does not contribute financial support for the prize.

Description of the Michelson Prize

The Prize will recognize outstanding achievement in the scientific research and facility areas of optical interferometry. The Prize may be given for scientific discoveries with applied optical interferometry, for guiding student research, for support of research operations including observatory management, and for related public service. The Prize may have either of two formats.
The Michelson Lifetime Contributions Prize will recognize a substantial history of contributions and international leadership as evidenced by one or more of: publications, advancement of knowledge, reputation, procurement and management of resources, and accomplishments of former students.
The Michelson Investigator Prize will recognize recent, specific contributions , judged of exceptional merit or impact by such evidence as intensive follow-up activity, high citation rate, focus in conferences, or strong media interest.
Candidates may be of any age and nationality, and need not be members of the IAU.

The Nature of the Prize

The Michelson Lifetime Contributions Prize will consist of a certificate of prize, with a statement of the contributions and their significance.
The Michelson Investigator Prize will consist of a certificate of prize, with a statement of the contributions and their significance, accompanied by a cash award in an amount as the sponsor may determine .

The Occasion of the Prize

The prizes will be timed, when possible, to allow announcement at a major community venue. Possibilities are IAU events and International Conferences focusing on interferometry techniques or science.

Nomination and Selection Process

Approximately six months before the expected date of the prize, the MWI Director and the Commission President will extend an invitation to the international astronomy community via available newsletter and email routes. A complete nomination must include the nominating letter, which provides supporting evidence as well as indicates whether the nomination is for the Investigator or Lifetime Achievement prize, and a statement that the nominee is aware of and approves of the nomination. A single Prize Committee of seven members will be formed for both Michelson and Fizeau prizes. The Commission President will appoint two members selected from the Commission Science Organizing Committee and/or from among the Commission present or past officers. The directors of MWI and the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur (or their representatives) will be ex-officio members, and they will select three additional committee members from the community. The Prize Committee will review the nominations, and may solicit additional input from external referees as needed. They will meet, most likely by telecon, to recommend the prize recipients and will draft the citation associated with the prize. Prize Committee meetings will be chaired by the Commission Vice President, who will act in a non-voting capacity. A committee member may initiate a nomination, but will then withdraw from the final discussion and vote. All recommendation(s) will be subject to concurrence by the MWI Director.

Frequency of Prize

The IAU and MWI will invite nominations for a Michelson Prize every two years. The Michelson Prize Committee will recommend no more than one Michelson Investigator Prize in each prize cycle. The Committee may from time to time recommend a Michelson Lifetime Contributions Prize which may be in addition to or instead of an Investigator prize.

Excluded Candidates

Current officers of Commission 54 or its Science Organizing Committee, members of the Prize Committee, and members of the MWI board may not be considered for the prize during their tenure in these positions.
Updated: 2 April 2012