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AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize

Supported by The Fodor Family Trust


The Prize

The Association’s oldest award, the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize, supported by The Fodor Family Trust, was established in 1923 with funds donated by Newcomb Cleveland of New York City and was originally called the AAAS Thousand Dollar Prize. It is now known as the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize, and its value is $25,000. In addition to the prize funds, the winner receives complimentary registration and reimbursement for reasonable travel and hotel expenses to attend the AAAS Annual Meeting in order to accept the prize.



The prize is awarded to the author or authors of an outstanding paper published in the Research Articles or Reports sections of Science. Each annual contest starts with the first issue of June and ends with the last issue of the following May.

An eligible paper is one that includes original research data, theory, or synthesis; is a fundamental contribution to basic knowledge or is a technical achievement of far-reaching consequence; and is a first-time publication of the author’s own work. Reference to pertinent earlier work by the author may be included to give perspective.


Nomination Procedures

Throughout the year, readers of Science are invited to nominate papers appearing in the Research Articles or Reports sections. Nominations must be submitted in our online form by June 30.

Please note: self-nominations will not be accepted for the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize. Final selection is determined by a panel of distinguished scientists appointed by the editor-in-chief of Science.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is committed to equal opportunity for all persons, without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or other protected categories. AAAS seeks as diverse a pool of award nominations as possible, including as well a wide range of disciplines, institutional types, and geographical locations.


2021 Recipients

Neil Orman, AAAS

"A single fast radio burst localized to a massive galaxy at cosmological distance"

by K. W. Bannister, A. T. Deller, C. Phillips, J.-P. Macquart, J. X. Prochaska, N. Tejos, S. D. Ryder, E. M. Sadler, R. M. Shannon, S. Simha, C. K. Day, M. McQuinn, F. O. North-Hickey, S. Bhandari, W. R. Arcus, V. N. Bennert, J. Burchett, M. Bouwhuis, R. Dodson, R. D. Ekers, W. Farah, C. Flynn, C. W. James, M. Kerr, E. Lenc, E. K. Mahony, J. O’Meara, S. Osłowski, H. Qiu1, T. Treu, V. U., T. J. Bateman, D. C.-J. Bock, R. J. Bolton, A. Brown, J. D. Bunton, A. P. Chippendale, F. R. Cooray, T. Cornwell, N. Gupta, D. B. Hayman, M. Kesteven, B. S. Koribalski, A. MacLeod, N. M. McClure-Griffiths, S. Neuhold, R. P. Norris, M. A. Pilawa, R.-Y. Qiao, J. Reynolds, D. N. Roxby, T. W. Shimwell, M. A. Voronkov, C. D. Wilson was awarded the 2021 AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize.

For over a decade, fast radio bursts (FRBs)—flashes of radio emission from distant astronomical sources—have intrigued astronomical observers and the public alike. Most FRBs are extremely fleeting one-off pulses, lasting just milliseconds; making it nearly impossible to precisely localize their origins. Theories abound about the sources of FRBs but without basic information like the distance to their host galaxies, researchers cannot begin to translate their observations into information such as the total energy released in a burst or the environment within which the burst emerged.

Precise astronomical localization requires an interferometer, which in this case involved an array of radio telescopes working in concert to act as a much larger antenna with superior resolution. Further complicating efforts to identify the sources of FRBs, even the best telescopes can only see a very limited fraction of the sky at a time—typically less than 1 deg2, making it highly unlikely that an array will be directed at the correct patch of space to capture an FRB in real time. Bannister et al. present the first-ever precise localization of a non-repeating FRB, made possible by utilizing the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope and its phased array feed, consisting of 36 12-m dishes each capable of observing a 30 deg2 field-of-view. This wide field-of-view scans continually in lower resolution with real-time processing to trigger the temporary recording of raw telescope data when a signal of interest is detected. The raw data are of sufficient angular resolution to accurately isolate a host galaxy for a signal source. In essence, Bannister et al. demonstrate how we can achieve high time resolution and high angular resolution in radio astronomy.

Bannister et al.’s identification of only the second host galaxy of an FRB, has revealed stark differences in the astronomical origins of these bursts. These distinct host galaxy types suggest that FRBs have different physical origins, and that we might require multiple explanations for the FRB phenomenon. Bannister et al. also confirm that these phenomena are extragalactic, and therefore extremely energetic.

Read a list of past recipients.



Jessica L. Slater, PhD
Newcomb Cleveland Prize Coordinator
Science Editorial Office
1200 New York Avenue NW, Room 1044
Washington, DC 20005

Phone 202-326-6675