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Arthur B.C. Walker II Award


Arthur B.C. Walker II Award

The Arthur B.C. Walker II Award is presented to an outstanding African American (or member of the African Diaspora) who works in the areas of astronomy (including astronomy, astrophysics, space, and related sciences,) as a recognized leader in efforts to diversify the scientific community. The ASP’s Arthur B.C. Walker II Award has been established to honor an outstanding scientist whose research and/or educational efforts substantially contribute to those fields and who has (1) demonstrated a substantial commitment to mentoring students from underrepresented groups pursuing degrees in astronomy and/or (2) been instrumental in creating or supporting innovative and successful STEM programs designed to support underrepresented students or their teachers.

The Arthur B.C. Walker II Award also includes an Arthur B.C. Walker II Scholarship which the recipient gives to a student of their choice. In addition, and perhaps even more important than the financial benefit, the prestigious scholarship from the ASP will help support the student’s academic and career goals.

The 2017 recipient is Dr. George R. Carruthers, astrophysicist, inventor, and 2012 National Medal of Technology and Innovation recipient.


Dr. George R. Carruthers, astrophysicist, pioneer in the use of ultraviolet spectroscopy to study the universe, and inventor who developed the first moon-based observatory for the Apollo 16 mission, is the recipient of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s 2017 Arthur B.C. Walker II Award. The Arthur B.C. Walker II Award recognizes outstanding achievement by an African American in astronomy and for actively promoting diversity in science. Dr. Carruthers, recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama in 2012, received the Walker award on October 28, 2017.

About Dr. George R. Carruthers

George Robert Carruthers (born October 1, 1939) began his career working for the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., where his work focused on ultraviolet astronomy.  

In 1969, Dr. Carruthers received a patent for an instrument designed to detect short wavelength electromagnetic radiation. He developed the first moon-based observatory placed on the lunar surface by Apollo 16 designed to make measurements in the ultraviolet. Over 200 images of Earth's atmosphere, the Milky Way, and deep space were collected from this groundbreaking lunar observatory.  The instrument was also the first to detect molecular hydrogen in outer space. When Halley’s Comet returned in Earth’s skies in 1986, one of Carruthers’ instruments captured an ultraviolet image of it.  Carruthers also invented a camera used by the NASA Space Shuttle.

In the 1980s, Dr. Carruthers spearheaded a program allowing high school students to spend a summer working with scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory (Science & Engineers Apprentice Program).  

Dr. Carruthers has received a number of prestigious awards and honors.  He is the recipient of the Arthur S. Flemming Award (for outstanding achievement federal government employees, the American Astronomical Society ‘s Helen B. Warner Prize (for significant contributions to observational or theoretical astronomy), the Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal from NASA, and the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Carruthers was also inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for his contributions to aeronautical engineering.


Please contact the Awards team if you have questions about the nomination process