Texas’ Caitlin Casey Receives 2018 Pierce Prize from American Astronomical Society

10 January 2018

Washington, D.C. — Dr. Caitlin Casey of The University of Texas at Austin has been awarded the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize by the American Astronomical Society today at its semi-annual meeting in Washington, D.C. The organization awards the prize each year for “outstanding early-career achievement in observational astronomical research based on measurements of radiation from an astronomical object.”

Casey is an assistant professor in UT Austin’s Department of Astronomy. The citation reads, in part, “For her work on high-redshift starforming galaxies and for pioneering new quantitative techniques for determining the importance of submillimeter galaxies in galaxy evolution.”

She will deliver a prize lecture at a future conference.

“I’m honored and grateful to receive this recognition by my colleagues in the astronomical community, and I feel very lucky to be able to work on such an interesting scientific problem every day,” Casey said.

Casey and her group at UT Austin are working to take census of the most luminous galaxies out to the edge of the observable universe and understand how those galaxies are embedded in the large-scale cosmic web — in other words, space, on its largest scales, where galaxies are linked in a broader network by filaments of primordial gas. Casey has shown that such extremely bright galaxies are uniquely useful for studying the formation history of galaxy clusters, which are the most massive gravitationally-bound objects in existence.

“What excites me about this work is that our discoveries often seem to upend or completely reverse previously-drawn conclusions, and we still have so much to learn. This is, of course, the guiding principle of all scientific investigation and it keeps me driven. I don’t know what we’ll find tomorrow, but I know it'll be exciting."

Casey came to The University of Texas at Austin in 2015. She received her Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Cambridge in 2010, and a bachelor’s degree in physics, astronomy, and applied mathematics from The University of Arizona in 2007.

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Dr. Caitlin M. Casey, Assistant Professor
Department of Astronomy
The University of Texas at Austin

Rebecca Johnson, Communications Mgr.
McDonald Observatory
The University of Texas at Austin



Caitlin Casey

Casey, Caitlin