Dunlap Award for Innovation in Astronomical Research Tools


The Dunlap Award was established in 2013 thanks to a generous gift from the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Toronto.

The award is to be presented in even-numbered years, to an individual or team for the design, invention, or improvement of instrumentation or software that has enabled significant advances in astronomy. To be eligible, the nominee, or leader of a nominated team, must be a member of CASCA in good standing and a Canadian astronomer or an astronomer working in Canada.

The award consists of a monetary prize and a certificate. The recipient shall be invited to address the Society at its Annual General Meeting. The nomination package must be submitted entirely in electronic form to the Chair of the Awards committee and should consist of:

  • A joint letter of nomination signed by at least two members of CASCA in good standing detailing the specific achievement for which the candidate is being nominated, and providing evidence that the achievement has had a significant impact in the field;
  • Three external letters of support (e.g., from international experts in the nominee’s field). No letter should exceed two pages in length.

No other material should be submitted. The nominations for the 2016 Dunlap Award can be submitted beginning immediately and until Nov 20 2015.


2016 Dunlap Award
Peter-StetsonCASCA is pleased to announce Dr. Peter Stetson, from NRC-Herzberg, as the 2016 recipient of the Dunlap Award for Innovation in Astronomical Research Tools.

Dr. Stetson obtained his Ph.D. in Astronomy at Yale in 1979. After a short research fellowship at Yale he took a Carnegie Fellowship at the Mount Wilson and Las Campanas Observatories, subsequently moving to the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (DAO) of NRC-Herzberg in 1983.
Dr. Stetson has been the principal research officer at DAO since 2003.
He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2006, and was awarded the George van Biesbroeck Prize of the American Astronomical Society in 2008.

To address the problem of measuring the properties of stars in digital images from the earliest CCDs, Dr. Stetson developed and released the DAOPHOT program in 1986. He has single-handedly maintained, improved, and supported it since then. Countless investigators have used DAOPHOT; the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project to measure the size of the Universe and the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of dark energy are but two transformational scientific results that exploit its photometry. Dr. Stetson’s more recent spectral line measurement code, DAOSPEC, has been adopted by many of the world’s largest optical facilities. Additionally, Dr. Stetson’s carefully calibrated, freely available photometric standard star catalog now exceeds 114,000 objects, and underpins the majority of photometric observations carried out today. Dr. Stetson has also long served as an image structure expert for senior National Research Council engineers, impacting the design of instruments for the next generation of large facilities such as the Thirty Meter Telescope.

CASCA congratulates Dr. Stetson on the receipt of the 2016 Dunlap Award.

Recipients to date have been:
2014 Matt-DobbsMatt Dobbs Technology-Driven Cosmology Today and Tomorrow View Citation

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