Dr. Margaret Geller has been awarded the 2013 Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society (APS). Established in 1988, the Lilienfeld Prize recognizes a most outstanding contribution to physics. Previous honorees include Alan Guth, Stephen Hawking, David Schramm, Kip Thorne, and Michael Turner.
The citation for Dr. Geller's award reads, "For her pioneering work leading to the discovery of the large-scale structure of the universe and for her extraordinary contributions to science education of diverse audiences around the world." She will receive the Prize at the March 2013 meeting of the APS in Baltimore, Maryland and will give a plenary Lecture.
Dr. Geller's pioneering maps of the nearby universe revolutionized cosmological research. On vast scales, galaxies delineate filaments and sheets surrounding or nearly surrounding very low density voids in the galaxy distribution. Together with fluctations in the temperature of the cosmic microwave background, this discovery dramatically changed the way scientists think about the large-scale structure of the universe and continues to provide fundamental observational constraints on the origin and evolution of the universe.
In more than 200 public lectures, Dr. Geller has brought the beauty and the excitement of science to audiences ranging from 50 people at a local public library to more than 5000 at major venues like Chautauqua. Her award-winning films Where the Galaxies Are and So Many Galaxies ... So Little Time have been viewed by millions of people in major science museums worldwide. A current film, "Hectomap," shows the beauty of the large-scale structure from her observations with the MMT on Mt. Hopkins, Arizona and is on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
Dr. Geller is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society. In 1990, Dr. Geller was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. She has also received the Newcomb-Cleveland Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1989), the Magellanic Premium from the American Philosophical Society (2008), the James Craig Watson Medal of the National Academy of Sciences (2010), and the Henry Norris Russell Lectureship of the American Astronomical Society (2010).