The David Allen Prize

David Allen was a highly innovative and prolific astronomer. He was among the founding group of astronomers for the Anglo-Australian Observatory and worked there from 1975 until his untimely death in 1994, at the age of 47. David had a strong commitment to advancing the public understanding of astronomy and a unique ability to get his message across, culminating in the award of the 1993 Eureka Prize for the Promotion of Science.

David Allen

David Allen

The David Allen Prize is awarded by the Astronomical Society of Australia for exceptional achievement in astronomy communication. The prize is normally awarded every three years.

The prize consists of a plaque together with an award of $5,000. Presentation of the award occurs at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Astronomical Society of Australia.

The prize is awarded for the best piece or series of media that presents an astronomical theme in an exciting and educative manner. The piece should be intended for a general audience and delivered in an engaging style. The language must be non-technical but it is important that scientific integrity is maintained throughout.

To be eligible for the prize the piece of work must have been published within the three years prior to the call for nominations. To be considered published the work must have appeared in or been performed through any form of media that is widely accessible to Australians such as online, in print, on television or radio, or on CD or DVD. Eligibility for the prize is restricted to Australian residents.

A request for nominations is widely canvassed from late January in the year that a prize will be awarded. The closing date for nominations is the 23 March.

The next David Allen Prize is expected to be awarded in 2015.

Nominations must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • a letter of nomination up to 2 pages in length, that describes the approach taken to engage the audience and the impact and reach of the work.
  • a sample of the work, for example CD, DVD, books, articles or website address.
  • the contact details of two referees familiar with the work.
  • if the applicant is nominated by a third party, written acceptance by the applicant of the nomination.

The nomination materials should be sent to:

    Dr Tanya Hill
    ASA Prizes and Awards Coordinator
    Museum Victoria
    GPO Box 666
    Melbourne Vic 3001
    thill -@-

An assessment committee nominated by the ASA Council will evaluate the submitted materials and make a recommendation to the Council. The decision of the Council is final, including the decision not to award the prize in any given year.

Funding for the Prize

The David Allen Prize will be funded through the ASA's Foundation for the Advancement of Astronomy (FAA). The FAA is a tax-deductible Foundation intended to enhance the ASA's efforts to promote Astronomy and related fields in Australia, and to recognise and support excellence in those fields. The purposes of the FAA are very broadly defined to allow the support of prizes, scholarships, research and facilities.

The success of the David Allen Prize and the FAA's ability to support other activities depends on the level of funding available, and hence on the financial support of ASA members and the public. The ASA invites you to make a donation (tax-deductible for Australian residents) to support the goals of the FAA. You may specify that your donation be used to support the David Allen Prize or make it available to the general purposes of the Foundation.

A form to facilitate a donation can be found on the FAA web page.

List of Past Winners

(based on year in which the award was made)
Dr Charley Lineweaver, Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Mt Stromlo Observatory
Martin George, Manager, Planetarium and Space Sciences at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston
Fred Watson, Astronomer-in-Charge, Anglo-Australian Observatory
Jonathon Nally, then editor of Sky & Space magazine.

Back to top