Skip to main content

ASU's Origins Project announces recipient of $10K Postdoctoral Lectureship Award

Aomawa Shields of the University of California-Los Angeles is the recipient of the 2016 Origins Project Postdoctoral Lectureship Award.

February 24, 2016

The Origins Project is pleased to announce Aomawa Shields of the University of California-Los Angeles is the recipient of the 2016 Origins Project Postdoctoral Lectureship Award.

This $10,000 award, the largest of its kind in the world, is offered to promising young scholar-scientists on the basis of their scholarly achievement and potential, as well as their skills in science communication. Part of the award is a week-long residency at Arizona State University where Shields will offer a series of departmental colloquia and a large public lecture in early April. 

Shields’ research focuses on exploring the climate and potential habitability of extrasolar planets orbiting low-mass stars. Currently a National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow, Shields is also a University of California President's Postdoctoral Fellow in the UCLA Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

She is also a TED Fellow whose TED talk “How We’ll Find Life on Other Planets” has nearly 1 million views. In addition to her many scientific accomplishments, Shields is a classically trained actor with an Master of Fine Arts degree, a skill she uses to communicate her love of science. 

“Dr. Shields rose to the top of a very impressive list of nominees,” said Origins Project director Lawrence Krauss. “Her cutting edge research in a topic of great current interest, combined with her clear communication skills, make her the ideal Origins Postdoctoral Award winner.”

“We are extremely happy she has accepted the award and are looking forward with anticipation to her visit, as should members of the ASU community and the public at large. Her presentations will be thrilling.”

For more information on the public lecture, please see:

The Origins Project Postdoctoral Lectureship Award is one of many awards and scholarships that The Origins Project has available to students, researchers and scholars. For more information visit

Written by Michelle Iwen, Origins Project

More Science and technology


A glowing pentagon on a maroon background

ASU receives 3 awards for research critical to national security

Three researchers in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University have received grant awards under the …

April 24, 2024

Celebrating 34 years of space discovery with NASA

This year, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is celebrating its 34th anniversary of the world's first space-based optical…

April 23, 2024
Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom with fireworks overhead

Making magic happen: Engineering and designing theme parks

The themed entertainment industry is widespread and diverse, encompassing everything from theme parks to aquariums, zoos, water…

April 23, 2024