Thursday, January 31, 2013

And the Winner is....

As you know the CANDELS team consists of many scientists who work on various aspects of galaxy evolution, supernova science and theory.

Rachel Somerville
Rachel Somerville is one of the theorists on the team. You can read a post in which she describes some of her work here. This month, she was awarded the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics. One outstanding astrophysicist is selected every year by the American Institute of Physics and the American Astronomical Society to honour his or her contribution to the field. Rachel received the prize for her work on semi-analytic galaxy formation models. In particular she has been working on  understanding the connection between galaxy evolution and the evolution of supermassive black holes. Within CANDELS she is combining the observational data with simulations and galaxy formation models to solve the puzzle of galaxy formation.

Like many astronomers, Rachel has lived and worked at quite a number of Institutes around the world, after receiving her PhD from the University of California in Santa Cruz. She is now a Full Professor and the Downsbrough Chair in Astrophysics at Rutgers University. Rachel is very happy and honored to receive this prestigious prize and for the recognition of her work. She said: "Working with observational collaborations has been my biggest source of inspiration over the course of my career. Being involved with the CANDELS project is particularly exciting for me because it has brought together observations at so many different wavelengths, as well as a large team of people with different interests and expertise, including a large number of theorists!"

The Heineman Prize is funded by the Heineman Foundation for Research, Educational, Charitable and Scientific Purposes, Inc. and is named after Dannie Heineman who as an engineer himself was a great advocate for science and education. This prize comes with $10,000 prize money and will be officially bestowed upon Rachel at a future AAS meeting. Since the first awardee in 1979, only 3 women (including Rachel) have received this prize, one of which was Sandy Faber who is also one of the CANDELS-PIs. Read more about Rachel and this prize here.

Sandy Faber
Sandy Faber, too, was recently honored. She is one of the 12 scientists to receive the National Medal of Science this year. The National Medal of Science is the highest award for scientists and engineers in the United States and was first awarded in 1963. Each year, scientists and engineers are honored for their outstanding contributions in various fields such as mathematics, physical, biological, social/behavioural sciences, engineering, chemistry and computing. The award ceremony for the National Medal of Science will be held at the White House tomorrow morning (Feb. 1) at 11am and you can watch it live here.

The CANDELS team is immensely proud to have such outstanding team members. Many congratulations to Rachel and Sandy!

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