The Michelson Interferometry Prize Guidelines 2024

Name of Prize

The Michelson Prize for Contributions to Astronomical Optical Interferometry ("The Michelson Prize").

Purpose of Prize

To provide recognition within the interferometry community, as well as in the broader science community, of science research programs and results from the rapidly growing field of optical interferometry, and to assist Lowell Observatory and the Commission on Optical and Near-Infrared Astronomical Interferometry with engaging the community in promoting the future of optical interferometry.

Prize Authority

The Michelson Prizes will be a joint program of The Commission and of Lowell Observatory.

Prize Sponsor

The Michelson Prize will be sponsored by Lowell Observatory, an independent non-profit research institution located in Flagstaff, Arizona. Lowell Observatory, has long been on the forefront of astronomical discovery, with pioneering research on Mars, and the discovery of Pluto; Lowell Observatory has also played and continues to play a significant role in the development of the field of optical interferometry. The Commission does not contribute financial support for the prize.

Description of the Michelson Prize

The Prize will recognize outstanding achievement in the scientific research and facility areas of optical interferometry. The Prize may be given for scientific discoveries with applied optical interferometry, for guiding student research, for support of research operations including observatory management, and for related public service. The Prize may have either of two formats. The Michelson Lifetime Contributions Prize will recognize a substantial history of contributions and international leadership as evidenced by one or more of: publications, advancement of knowledge, reputation, procurement and management of resources, and accomplishments of former students. The Michelson Investigator Prize will recognize recent, specific contributions, judged of exceptional merit or impact by such evidence as intensive follow-up activity, high citation rate, focus in conferences, or strong media interest. Candidates may be of any age and nationality.

The Nature of the Prize

The Michelson Lifetime Contributions Prize will consist of a certificate of prize, with a statement of the contributions and their significance. The Michelson Investigator Prize will consist of a certificate of prize, with a statement of the contributions and their significance. Either prize may be accompanied by a cash award in an amount the sponsor may determine.

The Occasion of the Prize

The prizes will be timed, when possible, to allow announcement at a major community venue. Possibilities include International Conferences focusing on interferometry techniques or science.

Nomination and Selection Process

Approximately six months before the expected date of the prize, the Lowell Observatory Director and the OCA Director will extend an invitation to the international astronomy community via available newsletter and email routes. A complete nomination must include the nominating letter, which provides supporting, and a statement that the nominee is aware of and approves of the nomination. A single Prize Committee of seven members will be formed for both Michelson and Fizeau Prizes. The directors of Lowell or OCA (or their representatives) will be ex-officio members, and they will select four committee members from the community, and a President of the Committee. The Prize Committee will review the nominations, and may solicit additional input from external referees as needed. The Committee will meet, either virtually or in-person, to recommend the prize recipients, and will draft the citation associated with the prize. Prize Committee meetings will be chaired by the President of the Committee. A committee member may initiate a nomination, but will then withdraw from the final discussion and vote. Recommendations of Michelson and Fizeau awards from the Prize Committee will be submitted to the Directors of Lowell and OCA, respectively, for final selection.

Prize nominations for 2024 may be emailed to Dr. Gerard van Belle (Lowell Observatory), at Submitted nominations are encouraged substantiate their case with as much backing material as necessary.

Frequency of Prize

Lowell Observatory will invite nominations for a Michelson Prize every two years. The Michelson Prize Committee will recommend no more than one Michelson Investigator Prize in each prize cycle. The Committee may from time to time recommend a Michelson Lifetime Contributions Prize which may be in addition to or instead of an Investigator prize. The sponsor is under no obligation to award either prize during a given two year cycle.

Excluded Candidates

Current officers of The Commission or its Science Organizing Committee, members of the Prize Committee, and members of the Lowell board may not be considered for the prize during their tenure in these positions.

Updated: Feb 8 2024