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Massey Award Given to Harvey Tananbaum

For Release: June 24, 2010


Harvey Tananbaum
CXC Director Harvey Tananbaum

(Photography by Lois Finley, Event Digital Photography, Inc.)

Dr. Harvey Tananbaum, director of the Chandra X-ray Center, has been selected as the recipient of the 2010 Massey Award for his career accomplishments in high-energy astrophysics in space.

The Massey Award is given by the Royal Society of London and the Committee of Space Research (COSPAR) in memory of Sir Harrie Massey, past Physical Secretary of the Society and member of the COSPAR Bureau. The prestigious award recognizes outstanding contributions to the development of space research in which a leadership role is of particular importance.

Dr. Harvey Tananbaum began his career at American Science and Engineering and has been an astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory since 1973. He was involved with pioneering X-ray astronomy missions including UHURU and the Einstein Observatory.

Beginning in 1976, Dr. Tananbaum, along with Nobel Prize winner Dr. Riccardo Giacconi, led the team that proposed to NASA to study and design a large X-ray telescope. This project was launched 23 years later in 1999 as the Chandra X-ray Observatory, becoming NASA's flagship X-ray telescope. Dr. Tananbaum has served as the director of the Chandra X-ray Center since 1991.

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Dr. Tananbaum has received numerous awards from NASA as well as from other agencies and institutions, including the American Astronomical Society's Bruno Rossi Award in 2004 along with Chandra Project Scientist Martin Weisskopf. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2005 was elected as a member of the United States National Academy of Science.

The presentation of the Massey Award, along with the gold medal that accompanies it, will be made at the upcoming 2010 COSPAR meeting in Bremen, Germany in July.

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra's science and flight operations from Cambridge, Mass.

A complete list of previous award recipients may be found at:

More information on Chandra can be found at: and

Media contacts:
Janet Anderson
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Ala.

Megan Watzke
Chandra X-ray Center, Cambridge, Mass.