LASP and NSO researcher Adam Kowalski awarded early career 2022 Karen Harvey Prize

Adam Kowalski, a joint faculty member at the National Solar Observatory and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder, is the recipient of the American Astronomical Society’s 2022 Karen Harvey Prize. Credit: Adam Kowalski/NSF/NSO/AURA/LASP

Adam Kowalski is the 2022 recipient of the Karen Harvey Prize awarded by the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Physics Division. This honor recognizes Dr. Kowalski’s early career contributions to the study of the Sun. His transformative research into stellar flares and their impact on lower stellar atmospheres has advanced our understanding of how flares and related phenomena influence the Sun, other stars, and the habitability of exoplanets.

Since 2016, Dr. Kowalski has jointly served as a tenure-track astronomer for the National Science Foundation’s National Solar Observatory (NSO) and an assistant professor in the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) as well as the university’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP). His research interests are based in solar and stellar astrophysics, specializing in spectroscopy of optical and ultraviolet emission in stellar flares. His utilization of state-of-the-art computer modeling, ground- and space-based observatories, and theory explores how lower stellar atmospheres react with the sudden release of magnetic energy during flares.

“Adam Kowalski is the first of two joint NSO/CU Boulder faculty positions. With a career focused on energetic processes on stars, Dr. Kowalski’s work bridges solar physics with exoplanet habitability conditions,” said Valentin Pillet, Director of the NSO. “We are delighted to see our first joint appointment obtain the prestigious Karen Harvey prize.” 

Dr. Kowalski’s research brings together solar and stellar physics in a way that has greatly improved our understanding of continuum emission from flares, the interpretation of spectroscopic observations, and exoplanetary habitability.

“Adam Kowalski is early in his career and has already made major contributions to the understanding of the most important star in the cosmos: our Sun,” added LASP Director Dan Baker. “We at LASP are so proud of Dr. Kowalski and the work he is doing to extend knowledge of the Sun to the universe beyond.”

The American Astronomical Society’s Karen Harvey Prize is awarded ​​​in recognition of a significant contribution to the study of the Sun in a person’s early career. Eligible candidates must be under the age of 36, or have not reached ten years of cumulative professional experience since receiving their Ph.D. or equivalent degree, at the end of the year preceding the award. The award was established in 2002 in honor of the late Karen Harvey.

Written by Evan PascualScience communication specialist – National Solar Observatory