The Qilak Award for Astronomy Communications, Public Education and Outreach

The Qilak award was developed jointly by the Beyond International Year of Astronomy group (a collaboration of CASCA, the FAAQ and the RASC). Established in 2011, these Awards are given, one by each of the sponsoring organizations, with a common purpose and evaluation criteria. The Qilak Award recognizes individual Canadian residents, or teams of residents, who have made an outstanding contribution either to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy in Canada, or to informal astronomy education in Canada. One goal the award is to promote such activities among the members of the sponsoring organizations. The recipient of the CASCA Qilak award will write an invited article for the Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (JRASC), and will be offered the opportunity to address the membership at the Annual General Meeting of the Society.

The nomination package must consist of a joint letter of nomination by at least two members in good standing of CASCA. No letter should exceed three pages in length. A letter of nomination should highlight how the nominee, or team of nominees, have distinguished themselves in astronomy outreach or communication, and/or cite exceptional achievements. Additional material such as examples of a nominees work is allowed.

For the 2016 award, letters of nomination and any supporting materials must be received by the chair of the Awards Committee and the CASCA Business Office, by Nov 20 2015.

2015 Qilak Award

CASCA is pleased to announce Mr. Paul Delaney from York University as the recipient of the 2015 Qilak award.

Mr. Delaney was an active member of the Canberra Astronomical Society in his native Australia before obtaining his MSc in Astronomy at the University of Victoria in 1981. He became the Observatory Coordinator at York University in 1986, where he has also been the Director of the Division of Natural Science since 2002.

For Mr. Delaney’s infectious enthusiasm and tireless advocacy for astronomical outreach has spanned several decades. Charged with ensuring access for York physics students in his role as observatory coordinator, Mr. Delaney went one step further and built a thriving public outreach program that welcomes over 5,000 visitors to the observatory annually and a weekly YorkUniverse  global radio audience of 30,000. Mr. Delaney’s face and name are also ubiquitous on Canadian media when there is a major sky event, with near-weekly appearances with major news outlets. Mr. Delaney has been an active member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) throughout his long career, and is currently the second vice-president of the RASC Toronto Centre. Mr. Delaney has received several awards for his sustained and enthusiastic service promoting astronomy, including the 2010 Sandford Fleming Medal, a Top-10 lecturer in TV Ontario’s 2005 “Best Lecture” competition, and both Faculty of Science and University-wide teaching awards at York.

Please join CASCA in thanking Mr. Delaney for his selfless dedication to improving public understanding and appreciation of science and astronomy.

Past recipients of the Qilak Award have been:
2014 Trottier_Howard (11)finsmHoward Trottier Simon Fraser University The IYA and Beyond at Simon Fraser University. Full Citation.
2013 James Hesser National Research Council of Canada Provocative Reflections on Communicating Astronomy in 2013 Canada. Full Citation.
2012 John R. Percy University of Toronto “A Half-Century of Astronomy Outreach: Reflections, and Lessons Learned”

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