2024 LAD Laboratory Astrophysics Prize Goes to Randall Smith
Susanna Kohler American Astronomical Society (AAS)
This post is adapted from a Laboratory Astrophysics Division press release:
The Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is awarding its Laboratory Astrophysics Prize to Dr. Randall Smith of the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA). This prize is given to Dr. Smith in recognition of his contributions to the field of high-energy astrophysics.
The Laboratory Astrophysics Prize, LAD’s highest honor, is given to an individual who has made significant contributions to laboratory astrophysics over an extended period of time. For over 25 years, Dr. Smith has made significant contributions to X-ray astronomy, including the construction of the APEC code, a standard for modeling coronal plasmas, as well as the development of AtomDB, a database of atomic rates and wavelengths that provides the underpinnings of the APEC and a number of other plasma models. The publication describing APEC code has been cited over 1,500 times, and the APEC code is one of the most widely used tools in this field. Dr. Smith is a PI and a Co-I on a number of X-ray observatories, such as Arcus, Athena, XRISM, and Astro-H. In addition to leading and contributing to past, present, and future X-ray missions, Dr. Smith has also made significant contributions to studies of the interstellar medium as well as the field of accretion processes in compact objects from black holes and neutron stars to symbiotic stars.
Dr. Smith has been actively involved in professional community service for close to two decades, including serving the divisions of AAS in various capacities. Dr. Smith is presently the Chair of the High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) of the AAS and the past Secretary of HEAD as well as the past Chair of LAD.
Dr. Smith received his undergraduate degree from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and his PhD from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), and Research Scientist at the Johns Hopkins University. In 2008 Dr. Smith returned to SAO, and since 2021, Dr. Smith has been the Associate Director of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of SAO. He is a member of the AAS, the American Physical Society, and the International Astronomical Union, and an Associate of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR).
The LAD Laboratory Astrophysics Prize includes a cash award, a framed certificate, and an invited lecture at a meeting of the Laboratory Astrophysics Division.