SEAC Award Conferred on Dr Fabio Silva
Professor J. McKim Malville
SEAC President Michael Rappengluck conferring the prize on Dr Fabio Silva. Photo: Dr Darrelyn Gunzburg
One of the highlights of the Bath conference was the conferring of the Carlos Jaschek Award on Fabio Silva for his outstanding work in archaeoastronomy and cultural astronomy. Jaschek, who founded SEAC in 1992, was known for his precise observations and careful analysis of emission-line stars. He was Professor of Astrophysics La Plata University, in Argentina, retiring as Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Strasbourg. During his career, Jaschek spent time at a number of astronomy departments and observatories in the US such Yerkes, University of Michigan, Perkins, and Ohio State. At the time of his retirement he authored some 250 refereed publications in astrophysics.
Fabio entered the field of cultural astronomy with a PhD in theoretical cosmology specializing in string theory, in particular the esoteric topic of asymmetric ghost branes. His strong background in astrophysics and skill in mathematical modelling has served him well in his new field. Within a period of some five years, he has become a prominent contributor at conferences and in the literature, and has started with Liz Henty the Journal of Skyscape Archaeology. The importance of this new journal cannot be overstated. It appeared at a remarkably auspicious time, just as the former major journal in the field, Archaeoastronomy: The Journal of Astronomy in Culture, failed.
He has developed a diversified research program in cultural astronomy and archaeology, one which many of us in the field strongly encourage, in which a variety of cross disciplinary and cross cultural issues are explored. He has been engaged in a field study of dolmens in Portugal, elaborated the concept of the crossover of the sun and moon with his colleague Fernando Pimenta, and has published on topics as diverse as rice cultivation in Japan, migration patterns and refugios, farming in the Bantu-speaking regions of Africa, and cultural continuity in European prehistory.
This breadth of his research is exactly what we like to honor with the CJ award. Cultural astronomy benefits when a holistic approach is followed, and multiple aspects of a culture are investigated in addition to its astronomical aspects. Fabio has followed that approach with great skill and elan.
His publication record is truly remarkable. During the period 2016 and 2010 he presented 11 papers in international conferences, contributed four book chapters, and published 14 papers in refereed journals. In 2014 he received the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship for his latest project involving data collection and modelling of the recolonization of Western Europe after the last glacial maximum around 20,000 years ago. This approach of Fabio should generate a ninth wave of new insights for cultural astronomy.
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