Professor Named Astronomy Society Fellow

Stephen Lawrence, professor of physics and astronomy,
is one of an elite group of scientists in North America to be recognized as a
Fellow of the American Astronomical Society (AAS).

This new accolade honors AAS members for noteworthy service to the
organization, original research and publication, innovative contributions to
astronomical techniques or instrumentation, and significant contributions to
education and public outreach.

A member of the Hofstra faculty since 2001, Professor Lawrence’s
research focuses on  ground- and
space-based observations of stellar explosions, their remnants and their light
echoes.

Since the mid-1990s, he has also been active with AAS to advance
LGBTQ+ visibility and equality in astronomy. His advocacy started out informally,
as part of a group of researchers who organized their own programming at
national meetings, and brought to the attention of the AAS governing council issues
of importance to the LGBTQ+ community (e.g. domestic partner health coverage
and other benefits equal to those granted to opposite-sex spouses, and transgender
accommodations).

Dr. Lawrence and his colleagues petitioned the AAS leadership in
2011 for formal recognition. In 2014 the AAS council created the permanent Committee
for Sexual Orientation and Gender Minorities in Astronomy (SGMA).  Dr. Lawrence was appointed chair of SGMA in
2017 and is still serving in that position.

SGMA does not work on LGBTQ+ equality exclusively. Since 2015 this
committee and others in AAS have worked to address the overt and subtle
discrimination that leads to women, racial minorities, gender minorities and
persons with disabilities being under-represented in astronomy and other STEM
fields.

The AAS Board of Trustees selected the inaugural 200
Legacy Fellows, of which Dr. Lawrence is a member. The honorees include past
recipients of certain awards from the AAS or its topical divisions,
distinguished AAS elected leaders and volunteer committee members, and
previously unrecognized individuals with long histories of outstanding
research, teaching, mentoring, and service. Singled out as the Inaugural Fellow
of this first class of inductees is E. Margaret Burbidge, among the most
influential female astronomers of the 20th Century and the first woman to serve
as AAS present, from 1976-1978.

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