The Claudia J. Alexander Prize in Planetary Sciences

The Claudia J. Alexander Prize recognizes a mid-career scientist who has made and continues to make outstanding contributions that have significantly advanced our knowledge of planetary systems, including our solar system. These contributions can be experimental, observational, and/or theoretical in nature and achieved in the laboratory, office, and by observations with ground-based and space-based instruments and telescopes. Criteria for consideration and selection include but are not limited to:

  1. Innovative and creative nature of the candidate’s research:  The candidates for the new prize must have made outstanding research contributions that have a broad and significant impact on their research area and/or opened up new areas that have advanced the practice of planetary science. As this is a mid-career award it is expected that the candidate has continued to make outstanding contributions beyond the period of eligibility for the Urey prize (8 year post final college degree). 
  2. Leadership in the field:  The candidate should be engaged in the broader research community and committed to professional development at a broad level, as demonstrated by leadership positions in their institutions, professional societies, advisory and service committees, editors of scientific journals, engaged in public outreach and service, etc., as appropriate for a mid-career researcher and their circumstances.
  3. Collaboration:  The candidate demonstrates evidence of collegial collaborations, good citizenship, and mentors students, post docs, and/or colleagues at an earlier career stage to train the next generation of planetary scientists.
  4. Ethics:  The candidate for nomination is expected to follow the AAS Code of Ethics ( and the nomination letter should include a statement to that effect. 

Candidates for the new prize must have held a recognized terminal college/university degree (not necessarily a PhD or D.Sc.) for at least 8 years and not more than 25 years at the end of the calendar year of the award.  In documented special circumstances, the committee may extend this time limitation by a moderate amount to allow for career breaks.  In unusual circumstances where the candidate has no college/university degree, the committee can determine the equivalent 8-year threshold from the candidate’s educational and training background.

The prize will consist of a certificate and a citation, accompanied (except for a posthumous recipient) by a cash award, in an amount to be determined by the DPS Committee.

The recipient of the prize will be invited to present a lecture on a subject of their choosing. This lecture will normally be given at a DPS meeting, but an alternate venue may be arranged by the recipient and the DPS Committee. The recipient will also be invited to publish a written version of the prize lecture.

This prize was first announced in 2020 and the first winner will be honored at the 2021 DPS meeting.

All DPS members are encouraged to submit nominations for this prize.

Alexander Prize Winners

2023Amy Simon
2022Martha Scott Gilmore
2021Elizabeth Turtle