Dr. Lennox Cowie, astronomer at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Institute for Astronomy (IfA), has been awarded the 2009 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics by the American Astronomical Society and American Institute of Physics for his outstanding work in the field of astrophysics. The prize will be awarded at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, D.C., in January 2010.

Established in 1979, the Heineman Prize honors Dannie Heineman, a Belgian-American engineer and businessman who was a prolific sponsor of science, especially through the Heineman Foundation.

Cowie is considered a world-leading expert in the field of cosmology, galaxy evolution and formation. He received the prestigious prize for his exceptional work at the IfA, specifically for his research with telescopes on Mauna Kea on the Big Island. The prize citation reads, “for his innovative observations and studies of the distant universe, which have significantly advanced our understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies.”

Cowie received his PhD in theoretical physics from Harvard University in 1976. Prior to joining UHM in 1986, he held appointments at Princeton, MIT and the Space Telescope Science Institute. He served as IfA associate director from 1986 to 1997, and was awarded the UH Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Research in 1998.

With over 25 years experience as an astronomer, Cowie has received several esteemed awards-including the Bok Prize from Harvard University in 1984 and the American Astronomical Society Warner Prize in 1985 — and was designated as a highly cited author of the Science Citation Index in 2003.

Cowie, who became a Fellow of the Royal Society of the United Kingdom in 2004, has been published in numerous astrophysics publications. Founded in 1967, the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii at Manoa conducts research into galaxies, cosmology, stars, planets, and the sun. Its faculty and staff are also involved in astronomy education, deep space missions, and in the development and management of the observatories on Haleakala and Mauna Kea.

Established in 1907 and fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the University of Hawaii is the state’s sole public system of higher education. The UH System provides an array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and community programs on 10 campuses and through educational, training, and research centers across the state. UH enrolls more than 50,000 students from Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and around the world.