Astronomy has experienced tremendous growth and development during the past fifty years as the entire electromagnetic spectrum from radio waves to gamma rays was opened to investigation. Remarkable progress has been achieved in our understanding of the origin and evolution of the universe; the structure and dynamics of galaxies; the birth, life, and death of stars and stellar systems; and the formation and ubiquity of planetary systems. The names of exotic objects such as supernovae, quasars, pulsars, and black holes have entered the public lexicon, and have captured the imagination of people, young and old, all over the world.
A new golden age of astronomy can be expected in the twenty-first century as the research tools of the more traditional disciplines are brought to bear on the great astronomical problems, and as novel windows are opened to the universe, using neutrinos and gravitational radiation to explore extreme configurations of matter and energy not accessible to terrestrial laboratories
for his contributions to understanding structure formation in the Universe. With powerful numerical simulations he has shown how small density fluctuations in the early Universe develop into galaxies and other nonlinear structures, strongly supporting a cosmology with a flat geometry, and dominated by dark matter and a cosmological constant.
for conceiving and designing the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), whose recent direct detection of gravitational waves opens a new window in astronomy, with the first remarkable discovery being the merger of a pair of stellar mass black holes.
for their contributions to the measurements of features in the large-scale structure of galaxies used to constrain the cosmological model including baryon acoustic oscillations and redshift-space distortions.
for their discovery and study of the magnetorotational instability, and for demonstrating that this instability leads to turbulence and is a viable mechanism for angular momentum transport in astrophysical accretion disks.