ann21030 — Announcement

NOIRLab’s Lars Lindberg Christensen to Receive Prestigious Klumpke-Roberts Award

Award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific recognizes Christensen’s contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy

26 August 2021

Awarded to an individual or individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Klumpke-Roberts Award for 2021 goes to Lars Lindberg Christensen, Head of Communications, Education, and Engagement at NSF’s NOIRLab. The award recognizes Christensen for more than 30 years of bringing science to the public and increasing awareness of the Universe and its role in human understanding.

Christensen’s leadership in the field of astronomy communication to the public began with a keen interest in astronomy and a vision for science communication. By spearheading the communication and education of large science organizations, such as the European Space Agency’s Hubble Space Telescope operation, the European Southern Observatory (ESO), and the International Astronomical Union (IAU), along with his efforts in building a global community of astronomy communicators through outreach, technology, and global connections, Christensen has given people the ability to make educated decisions regardless of nationality, age, gender, or socio-economic status.

Throughout his career Christensen has been a proponent of open public access, for instance by using and promoting Creative Commons licensing global metadata standards and Wikimedia Commons as global repositories of tens of thousands of images, videos, planetarium shows, and other products from the Hubble Space Telescope, ESO, IAU, and other major research facilities, such as the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) and the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS/JAXA), in multiple languages and at an approachable level.

All of the material produced by Christensen — whether it be for planetarium shows, or web pages, print, or social media, television, or radio — used his methodology of innovative strategies and technology, forming the best team to produce high-quality materials. His ability to produce the most efficient methods of communicating science has created lighthouses of public understanding and advanced the standing of educational and public outreach.

Adding to his accomplishments as Press Officer at the IAU for more than 15 years, Christensen also focused on the developing world. One nominator stated, “Lars’s organizational and networking skills were exemplary in dealing with groups in many countries. He has a gift for presenting education in terms of the local culture, so it makes sense for people to understand.”

As an author of a dozen books, more than 200 publications, video producer of documentaries and planetarium shows, international project leader, and local grassroots developer, he has also contributed to public education and science awareness, leading him to one of his largest accomplishments as the global manager of the IAU’s  International Year of Astronomy 2009. Planetariums, network television, and top vodcasts have all benefited from Christensen’s innovative approach, and as commented by a nominator, “speak volumes to Lars’s vision of making scientific educational material of the highest quality available, for free, to anybody in the world with a computer, an internet connection, and the desire to learn more about astronomy.

Past recipients of the Klumpke-Roberts Award include Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Chesley Bonestell, Timothy Ferris, Walter Sullivan, Heidi Hammel, and the editors of Sky & Telescope and Astronomy magazines.

Christensen will receive the Klumpke-Roberts award at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s 2021 virtual awards gala on 19 November 2021.



Joycelin Craig
Director, Membership & Communications
Astronomical Society of the Pacific

Vanessa Thomas
Public Information Officer
Tel: +1 520 318 8132

About the Announcement



Lars Lindberg Christensen
Lars Lindberg Christensen
Lars Lindberg Christensen with the Klumpke-Roberts Award
Lars Lindberg Christensen with the Klumpke-Roberts Award