Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin Medal and Prize

In 2008 Council decided to establish the Cecelia Payne-Gaposchkin Medal and Prize.

The physicist behind the medal
Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin was a British-American astrophysicist who, in the course of her PhD studies on stellar spectra, discovered that stars are composed overwhelmingly of hydrogen and helium, in contrast to the prevailing view that the chemical makeup of the stars was much the same as that on Earth .She thereby established that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. After her doctorate, Payne-Gaposchkin carried out observations of more than three million variable stars, with her data being used to determine stellar evolution.

The award shall be made for distinguished contributions to plasma, solar or space physics. The medal will be silver and will be accompanied by a prize of £1,000 and a certificate.

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin medal recipients


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