The Historical Astronomy Division (HAD) of the American Astronomical Society awarded the fifth LeRoy E. Doggett Prize for Historical Astronomy to Dr. Steven J. Dick. The Prize was for his distinguished career and publication record that has significantly influenced the field of the history of astronomy. The HAD presented Dr. Dick with the Doggett Prize and he delivered the Doggett Prize Address at the January 2006 HAD meeting in Washington, DC.
Steve Dick's career as a historian of astronomy spans more than twenty-five years during which he has become one of the most respected scholars in the field. He established his reputation with his tremendously productive research in the history of ideas of extraterrestrial life. This has resulted in the publication of three books on the subject, all by Cambridge University Press: Plurality of Worlds: The Origins of the Extraterrestrial Life Debate from Democritus to Kant (1983), The Biological Universe, the Twentieth Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate, and the Limits of Science (1996), and Life on Other Worlds: The Twentieth Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate (1998). His other major work has been his history of the United States Naval Observatory, Sky and Ocean Joined (Cambridge, 2003), an exceptional book that is essential reading for all historians of astronomy. His many other co-edited volumes and historical papers stand as a testament to his important contributions to our discipline.
Steve Dick has also been an active and involved member of the history of astronomy community. He has been elected Vice-Chair and Chair of the Historical Astronomy Division of the AAS and later Vice-President and President of the IAU Commission 41 on History of Astronomy. Locally, Steve Dick has also served as Vice-President and President of the Philosophical Society of Washington.
Dr. Dick earned his B.S. in astrophysics in 1971 and his Ph.D. in history and philosophy of science in 1977, both at Indiana University. From 1989 to 2003, he was Historian of Science at the U.S. Naval Observatory. From 2003 to 2009 he served as Chief Historian at NASA.