The Petrie Lecture is an invited discourse by an outstanding astrophysicist which is held at Annual Meetings of the Society in alternate (odd-numbered) years, in memory of the significant contributions to astrophysical research by the late Robert M. Petrie. The Petrie Lecture originated under the auspices of the Canadian Committee for the IAU, prior to the existence of the Society, and was revived by the Society in 1977 as a regular event. Nominations for the Petrie Lecture can be made by submitting the name of a nominee to the Awards committee at any time. Nominations for the 2019 Lecturer should be received by December 15 2018.
The 2017 R. M. Petrie Prize is awarded to Dr. Charles Beichman for his incredible career contributions to the study of extrasolar planetary systems.
Dr. Beichman is currently the Executive Director of the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute at Caltech, which is the focus of exoplanet research at NASA. Dr. Beichman’s search for evidence of planetary systems is long-standing, dating back to the first detections of planetary systems with IRAS through the Spitzer Space Telescope and now looking forward to the James Webb Space Telescope. He has published many key papers on Kuiper Belt and Asteroid Belt analogs around other stars and has developed analysis tools that were essential to several breakthrough observational results.
For the past 10 years Dr. Beichman has been closely associated with and helped to formulate NASA’s program to search for planets around other stars, serving as Chair of the Science Working Group for the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) and authoring numerous articles and reports on TPF and the search for terrestrial and ultimately habitable planets. He is also involved in extensive outreach efforts that include appearances on several programs about space.
It is an honour to add Dr. Beichman’s name to the long list of distinguished past Petrie Prize recipients.