Every year, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Laboratory Astrophysics Division awards a prize to an individual who has made significant contributions to laboratory astrophysics over the course of his or her career. The 2018 award went to Michael Wiescher, the Freimann Professor of Physics. He was recognized for his significant contributions to the experimental foundation of nuclear astrophysics, as well as his research that closes the gap between experiment and theory in the field.
Wiescher has been at the forefront of discovering techniques that replicate the conditions that drive explosive nucleosynthesis in novae and X-ray bursters. His work has led to a greater understanding in the evolution of accreting white dwarfs and neutron stars.
The author of nearly 400 publications in nuclear physics and astrophysics, Wiescher has had many other honors. He is a fellow in both the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Wiescher was also recently elected to the Academy of Europe and directed the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics from 2003 to 2016. He currently leads the Nuclear Science Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Structure and Nuclear Astrophysics.