The Bok Prize

Bart Jan Bok was Director of Mount Stromlo Observatory from 1957 to 1966. He energetically promoted the undergraduate and graduate study of astronomy in Australia and set up the Graduate School of Astronomy at the Australian National University. In addition to his many scientific achievements, he was also a talented populariser of astronomy and is particularly remembered for his entertaining broadcasts on ABC radio.

The Bok Prize is awarded annually by the Astronomical Society of Australia to recognise outstanding research in astronomy or a closely related field, by an Honours student or eligible Masters student at an Australian university.

The prize consists of the Bok Medal together with an award of $1000 and ASA membership for the following calendar year. The recipient is invited to present a paper on their research at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Astronomical Society of Australia, where the prize will be presented.

The Bok Prize is now open for nominations with a closing date of Wednesday 15 February 2023.


To be eligible for the Prize applicants must have been an Honours student or eligible Masters student at an Australian university (at 30 June in the year prior to the award), and completed their degree requirements in that same year. Their research must have been carried out in an area of astronomy or closely related field.

Eligible Masters students are those who have entered their Masters degree from a 3 year undergraduate degree. Students who completed an Honours year before entering the Masters degree are not eligible for the Bok prize.

A request for submissions for the award in a given year is usually emailed out to the ASA membership in December each year, with the closing date for nominations in February.


 Nominations must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Each Australian University can submit a maximum of 2 nominations per year (unless a special case can be made for an extra nomination).
  • Nominations must be endorsed by the Head of the nominee’s academic unit, in consultation with their academic staff. The Head should also certify that the applicant’s degree requirements have been completed during the previous calendar year.
  • Nominations must be submitted by the candidate’s supervisor.
  • A nomination will include an electronic copy of the Honours/Masters thesis.
  • The nomination must include a brief statement (~1/2 page) by the applicant, in their own words, explicitly describing their major contributions to the research, the resources they used and the help they received. This may already be included in the report,
  • The nomination must also include a completed Supervisor’s Statement – this is a confidential statement by the applicant’s supervisor detailing the highlights of the research, indicating the relationship of the submission to the student’s course requirements, and highlighting the originality of the work. Please use the Supervisor’s Statement form (Word or pdf).

Submissions should be emailed to the ASA Prizes and Awards Coordinator, Dr Tanya Hill –

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

List of Past Winners

(based on year in which the award was made. The work was completed in the previous year.)


2023 – William McDonald (University of Western Australia)
Dissociation of Dark Matter and Gas in Cosmic Large-scale Structure
2022 – Maria Djuric (University of Sydney)
Stellar Spiral Structure in the Milky Way Galaxy
2021 – Madeleine McKenzie (University of Western Australia)
         Simulating the Formation of Multiple Stellar Populations in Globular Clusters
2020 – James Beattie (ANU)
Magnetohydrodynamical simulations of molecular clouds
2019 – Sam Cree (University of Queensland)
Can the fluctuations of the Quantum Vacuum Solve the Cosmological Constant Problem?
2018 – Matthew Keen (University of Sydney)
Asteroseismology of Subgiant Stars: A Study of Mixed-Mode Oscillations
2017 – Madeline Marshall (University of Tasmania)
Triggering Active Galactic Nuclei in Galaxy Clusters
2016 – Samuel Hinton (University of Queensland)
Extraction of Cosmological Information from WiggleZ
2015 – Shyeh Tjing (Cleo) Loi (University of Sydney)
Waves in the Sky: Probing the Ionosphere with the Murchison Widefield Array
2014 – Ross Turner (University of Tasmania)
Evolution of radio-loud Active Galactic Nuclei
2013 – Ben Pope (University of Sydney)
Dancing in the Dark: Kernel Phase Interferometry of Ultracool Dwarfs
2012 – Alison Hammond (University of Sydney)
Cosmic Magnetism: Faraday Rotation as a Probe of Extragalactic Magnetic Fields
2011 – Barnaby Norris (University of Sydney)
A study of AGB circumstellar dust shells using optical polarimetric interferometry
2010 – Madusha Gunawardhana (Macquarie University/AAO)
Constraints on the Evolution of the Stellar Initial Mass Function
2009 – Peter Jensen (University of Queensland)
The Colours of Galaxies in Intermediate X-ray Luminosity Galaxy Clusters
2008 – Christopher Hales (University of Sydney)
Cosmic Forensics: A study of the Pulsar Wind Nebula G359.1-23, The Mouse
2007 – Katie Dodds-Eden (RSAA)
TeVeS Theory and observational tests.
2006 – Brent Miszalski (Macquarie University)
Simulated Annealing and Optimisation of 2dF Fibre Configuration.
2005 – Patrick Scott (ANU)
CO spectral line formation in the sun: convective simulation, line profiles and isotopic abundances.
2004 – Stanislav Shabala (University of Tasmania)
On the Evolution of HII regions.
2003 – Darren Croton (RSAA)
Clustering and void statistics of the 2dF galaxy redshift survey.
2002 – no award
2001 – Yeshe Fenner (ANU)
Solving the Mystery of the Warm Ionised Medium.
2000 – Josephine Brown (ANU)
A photometric morphological and environmental study of the COLA galaxy southern sample.
1999 – Michael Murphy (UNSW)
Variability of the Fine Structure Constant.
1998 – Malcolm Kennett (University of Sydney)
Neutrino Emission from a Magnetised Plasma.
1997 – Jean-Pierre Macquart (University of Sydney)
Radio Propagation through Discrete Structures in the Interstellar Medium.
1996 – Lisa Kewley (University of Adelaide)
Astrophysical Angular Correlations.
1995 – Michael Brown (University of Melbourne)
For a study of compond chrondule formation in meteorites.
1994 – Arthur Street (University of Sydney)
For work on acceleration in type II solar radio bursts.
1993 – Sally Houghton (UNSW)
For a study of methanol masers towards Sagittarius B2.
1992 – Kylie Waring (Monash University)
For photometry of stellar variations.
1991 – Neal Turner (University of Sydney)
For work on the atmospheres of cool dwarf stars.
1990 – Robert Reinfrank (University of Wollongong)
For a CCD survey of bright southern galaxies.
1989 – Andrew Gray (University of Sydney)
For solar observations using the Molonglo radio telescope.