2014 Fizeau Prize Laureates : Christoph Leinert and William Tango

The Fizeau Prize for Contributions to Astronomical Optical Interferometry is jointly sponsored by Commission 54 of the International Astronomical Union and the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur (OCA). The purpose of the Fizeau Prize is to provide recognition within the interferometry community, as well as in the broader science community, of theoretical and technical progress and developments in the rapidly growing field of optical interferometry, and to assist the OCA and the IAU Commission with engaging the community in promoting the future of optical interferometry. The OCA includes research departments that have a long and continuing history of innovative contributions to the development of optical interferometry.

Description of the Fizeau Prize

The Prize recognizes outstanding achievement in fundamentals and implementation of optical interferometry. The Prize may be given for significant theoretical and technical innovations, for instrument design and deployment, including programmatic and management accomplishments, for teaching, and for related public service. The Prize may have either of two formats.

The Fizeau Lifetime Contributions Prize will recognize a substantial history of contributions and international leadership as evidenced by one or more of : publications, advancement of knowledge, reputation, procurement and management of resources, and accomplishments of former students.

The Fizeau Investigator Prize will recognize recent, specific contributions, judged of exceptional merit or impact by such evidence as intensive follow-up activity, high citation rate, focus in conferences, or strong media interest.

The Fizeau Prize will consist of a certificate of award, with a statement of the contributions and their significance, accompanied by a cash prize determined by the OCA.

2014 Laureates : William Tango and Christoph Leinert

The Fizeau Lifetime Contributions Prize for 2014 is awarded to Dr. William Tango for his long-term efforts in forwarding the theory, technology and practice of optical interferometry. This is most clearly demonstrated in the publication of the seminal paper on interferometry in 1980, along with many other original works on a broad range of topics in the field. Dr. Tango has been involved in the construction & operation of several major ground based instruments, including most recently the Sydney University Stellar Interfereometer (SUSI). The students he has mentored have themselves gone on to positions of leadership in this field, extending even further his wide-ranging influence on optical interferometry.

The Fizeau Investigator Prize for 2014 is awarded to Professor Christoph Leinert for his considerable scientific achivements throughout his career, and specifically for his role as Principal Investigator for the MIDI instrument on the VLTI. His noteworthy career connects to a recurring theme of high angular resolution astronomy, which ultimately led him to long-baseline interferometry at the VLTI. The remarkable success of MIDI can be directly connected to the scientific and technical leadership of Professor Leinert, resulting in breakthroughs in our understanding of active galactic nuclei, protoplanetary disks, and circumstellar envelopes of asymptotic giant branch stars ; this leadership has also been instrumental in significantly expanding the interferometry user community. Professor Leinert’s success with the VLTI is inspiring the next generation of researchers and instrumentation to build on these successes.

Previous winners

2012 : Charles Townes. 2010 : Antoine Labeyrie.

Nomination Process
A complete nomination must include the nominating letter, which provides supporting evidence as well as indicates whether the nomination is for the Investigator or Lifetime Achievement Prize and a statement that the nominee is aware of and approves of the nomination. Candidates may be of any age and nationality, and need not be members of the IAU. Current officers of IAU Commission 54 or its Science Organizing Committee, members of the Prize Committee and members of the OCA Council may not be considered for the prize during their tenure in these positions. All materials should be submitted by email to the Vice-President of IAU Commission 54 at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than May 1, 2014.

The Fizeau Prize is part of an interferometry award program sponsored by IAU Commission 54 that includes the Michelson Prize co-sponsored by the Mount Wilson Observatory and that recognizes scientific discoveries with applied optical interferometry.

Fizeau Prize Rules