Rules for the Donald E. Osterbrock Book Prize

[last revised September 2011]

  1. General
    1. The Donald E. Osterbrock Book Prize for Historical Astronomy (hereafter “the Prize”) consists of an appropriate certificate containing a citation from the Historical Astronomy Division (HAD) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS).
    2. At the discretion of the HAD Committee (Sec. III), the Prize may be accompanied by an honorarium and/or travel expenses to a HAD meeting in order to give an invited lecture.
    3. The Prize shall be given no more often than biennially, on the schedule specified in Sec. IV.
    4. Recipients of the Prize may be of any nationality and need not be members of HAD or of the AAS.
    5. The Prize shall be administered in accordance with the Bylaws of the AAS and the policies of the AAS Council.

  2. Criteria for the Prize
    1. The Prize shall be awarded to the author(s) of a book judged to advance the field of the history of astronomy or to bring history of astronomy to light.
    2. In the above, “history of astronomy” is taken in its broadest sense, that is, to include all historical studies of the astronomical research, observations, practices, and beliefs of all cultures, past and present.

  3. The Prize Committee
    1. The recipient of the Prize shall be chosen by the HAD Prize Committee, which consists of five persons: the immediate past HAD Chair (Chair of the Prize Committee), the present HAD Chair, the HAD Secretary/Treasurer (Secretary of the Prize Committee), and two at-large members proposed by the HAD Chair and approved by the HAD Committee.
    2. The two at-large members shall serve staggered four-year terms beginning in alternate Januaries. At any given time no more than one of these persons may be a non-member of both the AAS and HAD. In choosing the at-large members, a balance shall be sought on the Committee between the various branches and styles of research in the history of astronomy.
    3. Members of the Prize Committee are not eligible for a HAD Prize until four years after they leave the Committee.

  4. Selection Procedure
    1. The Prize Committee shall issue a call for nominations, either in the HAD News or by other means, no later than 15 months before the award of the prize, which shall be awarded in January of odd-numbered years. A nomination consists of a detailed letter of support and the title, publisher, and date of the book nominated. Nominations may be proposed by any Member or Affiliate Member of HAD.
    2. Nominations will be accepted by the Secretary of the Prize Committee until March 1 of the year before the date of the award.
    3. To be eligible for the Prize a book must have been published two to five years preceding the award. Thus only books with publication dates 2012 through 2015 shall be eligible for the 2017 prize, the recipient of which shall be chosen in 2016. Books nominated with publication dates in the last two years of such a period which are not selected will automatically be considered again for the next award.
    4. To be eligible books must be published in English.
    5. The Prize Committee's selection shall be guided by the perceived quality of the books nominated.
    6. The Committee shall select a recipient by majority vote.
    7. The Committee may decide at any time not to award a Prize for the current cycle.
    8. Books consisting primarily of material previously published in another form shall not be eligible for the Prize.
    9. The Committee may ask publishers to provide review copies of nominated books.
    10. The Prize Committee shall make its announcement of the winner, if any, as well as the citation for the winner, by October 1 of the year before the award. The Prize Committee shall also decide at this time whether the recipient(s) shall be invited to give a lecture at the following HAD meeting. The HAD Committee shall decide whether travel expenses for the recipient shall be provided, and the amount of any honorarium. These decisions will be guided by the procedures given in Sec. V.

  5. Prize Fund
    1. A permanent Prize Fund shall be established and administered by the AAS. The HAD Committee shall determine what fraction of the Fund's income shall be used to maintain the Fund against inflation. The remaining income shall be available for the Prize and its associated expenses. If income from the Fund is insufficient, the HAD Committee may authorize that Prize expenses be obtained from the principal of the Prize Fund or from the HAD general account.
    2. The HAD Committee shall make prudent and equitable decisions regarding the amounts to award in any given year for any honoraria and travel expenses.

  6. Amendments
    1. The HAD Committee is empowered to change these rules by majority vote; such changes shall not apply to the current Prize cycle.

The Osterbrock Book Prize   |   Historical Astronomy Division   |    American Astronomical Society

by JST
email: hadsec@aas.org