Richard H. Emmons Award
For excellence in college astronomy teaching
Added to our list of honors in 2006, the Richard H. Emmons Award was inspired by a very generous gift from Jeanne and Allan Bishop, in honor of her father, Richard Emmons. Dr. Jeanne Bishop, a well-known astronomy educator in her own right, wished to honor her father, an astronomer with a lifelong dedication to astronomy education, by creating an award that recognizes and celebrates outstanding achievement in the teaching of college-level introductory astronomy for non-science majors.
The 2018 recipient is Prof. David Hurd, of Edinboro University in Pennsylvania.
The Richard H. Emmons Award — established by Jeanne and Allan Bishop in honor of Ms. Bishop’s father, Richard Emmons, an astronomer with a lifelong dedication to astronomy education — is awarded annually to an individual demonstrating outstanding achievement in the teaching of college-level introductory astronomy for non-science majors. The 2018 recipient is Prof. David Hurd, of Edinboro University in Pennsylvania.
Professor Hurd is recipient of what is the only award in the world that recognizes a lifetime of contributions to the teaching of introductory college astronomy. With more than 30 years of teaching experience, he is both Professor of astronomy (and geology) and Director of the college planetarium at of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, which serves not only the college’s students but thousands of K-12 students and members of the public in the area. He is known at the college as an approachable, attentive faculty member and as a model teacher. (He was the professor of the year at his university in 2007.) He encourages students to do their own research in educational techniques or materials, and then brings them to conferences he attends.
In addition to his professional efforts, Dr. Hurd shares a personal connection to those with disabilities, as two of his four sons have significant disabilities. His particular specialty is developing educational materials on astronomy for the blind, including tactile books for NASA on such topics as lunar craters, Mars exploration, eclipses, and ocean worlds in the outer solar system. The Dean of Edinboro University wrote about Dr. Hurd, “His genuine exuberance for the stars and the planets is contagious and provocative”. He is just the kind of Astro 101 professor this award was designed to recognize.
One enthusiastic nominator stated, “Dr. Hurd’s natural enthusiasm and creative ability to engage audiences with visible and invisible challenges and abilities is amazing. I love watching ‘the light bulb turn on’ when a student who is blind suddenly ‘sees’ the stars… watching the audience engage never gets old.”
Please contact the Awards team if you have questions about the nomination process