Professor Paul Delaney receives international outreach award

York University Professor Paul Delaney in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, Faculty of Science, has received the 2017 Klumpke-Roberts Award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

The award recognizes his outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy.

Delaney joins the ranks of Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov, among other prominent science communicators, who have received this award.

“Paul Delaney’s inspiring and tireless efforts have greatly raised both the public profile of the science of astronomy and York University’s standing as a hub of scientific excellence,” said Ray Jayawardhana, dean of the Faculty of Science. “His extensive contributions to science education and outreach at York and beyond make him most deserving of this prestigious award.”

Delaney is one of Canada’s most dedicated astronomy enthusiasts. His media presence with broadcast television and radio in Canada, as well as the Discovery Channel’s “Daily Planet,” have made him the go-to guy when Canada needs an authoritative voice around the heavens.

Promoting astronomy has been a lifelong pursuit for Delaney. Growing up in Australia, he purchased his first telescope as a teenager, established a Radio Astronomy Club in high school and joined the Astronomical Society of South Australia in 1972.

Delaney’s dedication to public outreach in astronomy started with his move to York University in Canada in 1986. His contributions to the public understanding of and enthusiasm for astronomy since then have brought his excitement to Canadians and beyond. For instance, a weekly column, “Astronomically Speaking,” filled local newspapers between 2002 and 2009.

Delaney is also the director of the York University Observatory, which has become an important part of community engagement efforts at York, with more than 5,000 visitors each year and some 20 enthusiastic student volunteers. The Observatory hosts online public viewing sessions and a weekly radio show on Astronomy FM with a global online audience of more than 30,000 dedicated listeners.

The Klumpke-Roberts Award is not the first public outreach award for Delaney. In 2015, he was awarded the Canadian Astronomical Society’s prestigious Qilak Award. In 2010, the Royal Canadian Institute honoured him with the Sanford Fleming Medal for contributions to the public understanding of science, putting Delaney in the company of some of Canada’s most prominent scientists, including Ursula Franklin, John Polanyi, David Suzuki and Tuzo Wilson.

Delaney has also previously received the President’s University-Wide Teaching Award and was named one of TVO’s “Top 10 Lecturers” in Ontario.

Delaney will formally receive the Klumpke-Roberts Award at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific Awards Gala in October.