You are here

Dirk Brouwer Career Award

The Dirk Brouwer Career Award recognizes annually a major contributor to the field of Dynamical Astronomy, who demonstrates excellence in scientific research, which has had a proven impact and influence in the field, as well as demonstrates excellence in the teaching and training of students and provides outstanding advancement and other support of the field through administration, public service, or engineering achievement. 

The awardee is recognized with a $2000 honorarium, a certificate, and the presentation of an award lecture with waived registration.

The 2024 prize recipient is Prof. Dong Lai of Cornell University. 

He will give a prize lecture at the 2025 56th annual meeting of the DDA. Recent past recipients include Alessandra Celletti, Hal Levison, Amina Helmi, Lennart Lindegren, and Fred Rasio (full list of past winners).

You can donate to the Dirk Brouwer Career Award fund through the AAS website.

History of the prize and Dirk Brouwer

Since 1976, the DDA has annually honored the achievements of a major contributor to the field of dynamical astronomy with this award.

Dirk Brouwer was a premier 20th century dynamical astronomer. He spent his career predominately at Yale University and guided the US into the space age. For more information regarding his life and work, please read this biographical memoir published by the National Academy of Sciences and written by G. M. Clemence, his coauthor of the classic textbook Methods of Celestial Mechanics. His work was recognized by many scientific societies and organizations including the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, the Bruce Gold Medal of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, an asteroid 1746 Brouwer, a Brouwer crater on the Moon, and an eponymous award from the American Astronautical Society.

Nomination Guidelines

The Dirk Brouwer Career Award recognizes annually a major contributor to the field of Dynamical Astronomy. Candidates must have obtained a PhD degree at least 10 years prior to the date of nomination. Nominees may be of any nationality, occupation, and need not be members of the DDA. All nominees are expected to abide by the AAS code of ethics. The DDA strongly encourages Brouwer award nominations of members of underrepresented groups in dynamical astronomy.

The Dirk Brouwer Career Award of the DDA shall be granted on the basis of the following criteria:

  • excellence in scientific research,
  • impact and influence in the field,
  • excellence in teaching and training of students, and
  • outstanding advancement and other support of the field through administration, public service or engineering achievement.

For the purposes of this award, the field of Dynamical Astronomy contains but is not limited to the sub-fields of celestial mechanics, astrometry, geophysics, cosmology, and star and planet formation as well as Solar System, exoplanet, planetary system, stellar system, galactic, extra-galactic, relativistic, and astrophysical fluid dynamics. The Dirk Brouwer Career Award committee (listed here) has final authority over the appropriateness of a nomination.

Nomination procedure and requirements:

Nominations for the 2025 prize are due by February 1, 2025 and should be submitted via the new nomination form (link below). Nominations will remain active for a period of three years.

We are now collecting nominations via the AAS OpenWater awards management system! This system collects information directly from the nominee and letter writers by sending out email requests, so please fill out the nomination form far enough in advance of the deadline for everyone to respond!

A completed nomination package will include:

  1. Curriculum Vitae including positions held, honors and awards received, teaching experience, mentoring and outreach activities. The CV must include the names of the candidate's PhD thesis advisor, postdoctoral mentors, all mentored students in the last ten years, and any other close associates, who will all be exempted from reviewing the package to avoid conflicts-of-interest.
  2. List of the nominee's publications
  3. At least three (up to five) letters of recommendation (at least one of which must be written by a member of the AAS or DDA), by experts in the field of the nominee, attesting to the long-term impact and influence of the nominee's various contributions to the field of dynamical astronomy.

The online nomination system will collect items 1 and 2 directly from the nominee, and letters will be collected directly from the letter writers. The nominator need only supply names and valid email addresses for the nominee and at least three letter writers.

Submit a Nomination for the Brouwer Award

Further inquiries on the nomination procedure may be addressed to the Secretary of the DDA (

Note on self-nominations: Following the practice adopted by the AAS, we accept self-nominations for all prizes. We intend that the prize selection committee will not know whether a candidate was nominated by someone else or was self-nominated. Accordingly, all letters of support must say something like "I am writing to support the nomination of [candidate's name]" rather than "I am writing to nominate [candidate's name]." Any letter of support that suggests that the author is directly "nominating" the candidate rather than "supporting the nomination of" the candidate will be returned for a rewrite.

Selection Committee and process: The award winner will be selected by a Brouwer Career Award Selection Committee (listed here) with at least 4 members appointed by the DDA leadership. The terms of members will be staggered so that one or two members are changed each year. The Chair of the DDA will serve as an ex-officio member of the selection committee. Each year, the selection committee will remind themselves of potential biases, identify any potential perceived conflicts of interest, determine the selection process in advance of examining that year's nomination packages, and hold at least one teleconference with all members present. The selection committee will select one candidate for the award and submit to the DDA Committee a written citation along with the selected candidate's full nomination package at least 45 days prior to the DDA meeting at which the award will be announced. The DDA Committee reserves the right to approve or decline the choice of the selection committee. In the latter case, the Brouwer Career Award Selection Committee may decide to put forward a second candidate or choose not to make an award. On occasion, the selection committee may choose to put forth up to two equally deserving candidates to share the award in a given year. In order to ensure that a diverse set of candidates is reviewed for selection, the selection committee will not proceed with its selection process unless at least one female candidate is included in the slate of candidates.