Dr. Ruth Murray-Clay was selected to receive the 2015 Helen B. Warner Prize for Astronomy for her theoretical studies of star and planet formation. Her work provided substantial contributions to other areas of astrophysics including circumstellar environments and the dynamics of the galactic center.
Dr. Murray-Clay has distinguished herself by advancing models of planet formation, especially clarifying the role of gravitational instabilities, illuminating how orbital migration leads to short period "Hot Jupiters," and exploring photoevaporation of close in exoplanets. In addition to her leading edge studies in the field of star and planet formation, Dr. Murray-Clay has made outstanding contributions to the theoretical interpretation of the ionized gas cloud (labeled G2) that is plunging in toward the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Dr. Murray-Clay has distinguished herself in training the next generation of young scientists whose contributions in the fields of star and planet formation have also had significant impact.