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 to an individual, group or institution that actively connects with the public to communicate astronomical themes in an engaging and informative way. The activity should reach a broad range of audiences. It must be highly prominent and interesting, while maintaining a strong level of scientific integrity.

The scope of the activity can be quite broad such as public presentations, popular writing, sustained media and outreach events, on-line activities and/or any innovative and creative activity that achieves astronomy outreach.

The activity must have been undertaken in Australia, by an Australian citizen or permanent resident or an Australian institution, and have been published, performed or have occurred within three (3) years prior to the closing date of entries. Previous winners of the David Allen Prize are ineligible for nomination.

The next David Allen Prize is due to be awarded in 2018. The call for nominations usually occurs in the January of the award year.

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)
Swinburne Astronomy Productions, Swinburne University of Techonology
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.

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