The winner of the 2002 David N. Schramm Award for high-energy
astrophysics science journalism proved to be more powerful than a
locomotive with an article comparing Superman and the Chandra X-ray
Observatory. Robert Naeye captured top honors for an article he
published in the journal California Wild, entitled “Superman’s
Telescope: The Achievements of Chandra.”

The Schramm award is offered by the High Energy Astrophysics Division
(HEAD) of the American Astronomical Society. Naeye, who is the editor
of Mercury, the magazine of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific,
will receive the $1,000 cash prize and travel expenses to the HEAD
scientific meeting in Albuquerque in April. He will be presented a
plaque and, for the publisher of his article, a certificate honoring
the work.

Naeye’s article takes the reader through the history of X-ray
astronomy, a world in which “photons punch right through normal mirror
surfaces just like bullets zipping through Kleenex tissues,” he wrote.
The article also tells the tale of the Chandra X-ray Observatory: a
25-year saga in which the telescope fell victim of countless budget
cuts and delays, yet, upon launch in 1999, now rivals the Hubble Space
Telescope with its discovery potential.

“It’s an honor to win this award, especially because it is named after
one of the great physicists of our age,” said Naeye, who is also the
author of the book for junior high school students “Signals from Space:
The Chandra X-ray Observatory,” published by Raintree Steck-Vaughn in
2000. “I thank my editors at California Wild, Kathleen Wong and Keith
Howell, and the thousands of people who made Chandra a reality, giving
me such an exciting topic to write about.”

The HEAD journalism award is named in memory of David Schramm of the
University of Chicago, a world leader in theoretical astrophysics and a
leading authority on the Big Bang model of the formation of the
universe. He was killed in 1997 when the twin-engine plane he was
piloting crashed outside of Denver. Schramm was dedicated to public
outreach, and the newly created writing award that bears his name
recognizes distinguished writing on high energy astrophysics that
improves the general public’s understanding in and appreciation of this
exciting field of research.

California Wild is a quarterly magazine published by the California
Academy of Sciences. Naeye’s article appeared in the Summer 2001 issue
and can be viewed online at

HEAD presents the Schramm award every 18 months at its division
meetings. Entries are judged by a committee of distinguished
scientists and journalists selected by the HEAD Executive Committee.
Information about the prize is available at