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Chilean astronomer wins New Horizons Physics Prize for research on planet formation



The award, which was announced internationally today Thursday, was awarded to Paola Pinilla (University of London, UK), Tilman Bernstiel (Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Germany) and Nienke van der Marel (Germany). It is shared by four astronomers from Leiden University, the Netherlands. and Laura Pérez (University of Chile, Chile).

With astronomers from the University of Chile Laura Perez, researcher at the CATA Center for Astrophysics; She was recognized in the “2024 New Horizons Physics Prize” category for her achievements in the field of planet formation, and became the first person in Japan to receive this award, which is given by the “Breakthrough Prize Foundation.”

“We are four people dedicated to understanding planet formation through theoretical and observational studies, using state-of-the-art instruments such as ALMA,” said Scientist at the Department of Astronomy, Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, University of Chile. comments.

“It is with great joy and pride for the University of Chile that astronomer Laura Pérez has received this prestigious award.” “2024 New Horizons Physics Prize” For his fundamental contributions to the problem of planet formation.

This award is in addition to the awards he has previously received. “World Academy of Sciences” It shows that world-class science can be carried out in Chile in 2021 and will undoubtedly encourage more young people, especially girls, to follow that path.

In both cases, it is the first time that a Chilean scientist has won the award, so Laura will not only be creating a new reality with her discoveries, but also promoting Chile to the world through her knowledge. We also emphasize his generosity, which is shown by the frequent sharing of his work and experiences with girls interested in pursuing science,” said Rosa Deves, Rector of the University of Chile. said.

The contents of the prize are 100,000 dollars (approximately 89 million Chilean pesos), It will be distributed to the winners. “It seems very meaningful to me that astrophysics research conducted in our country is recognized. Thanks to the policy of access to astronomical observation using telescopes installed in our country, 10% was set aside for research led by us working in national institutions, allowing us to contribute to the field of planet formation,” Laura added.

Chilean astronomer Laura Perez

“This extraordinary award is a well-deserved recognition of the original and innovative work that Laura has done to understand the formation of planetary systems around stars. , and even very relevant to ultimately understanding how the Earth formed,” said Guido Garay, Director of the CATA Center for Astrophysics and 2017 Precision Science Prize winner. .

Laura Pérez holds a PhD in astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and is an academic at the Department of Astronomy, Faculty of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, University of Chile, and one of the principal researchers at the Center of Excellence. She received her PhD in Astrophysics from CATA.

She serves as a graduate thesis tutor for several young students. One of them is Teresa Paneke. Currently a PhD student in astronomy at the European Southern Observatory (Germany), he has hundreds of thousands of followers on social networks.

This award is given for research into the prediction, discovery, and modeling of dust traps that solves long-standing problems in the field of planet formation. Professor Perez explains, “Some of the four laureates are observational astronomers and others are theoretical astronomers, so I think they complement each other well.”

“In particular, my contributions relate to the collection, understanding and interpretation of astronomical observations of protoplanetary disks, which reveal the existence of regions where dust accumulates and becomes trapped (we call ‘dust traps’). is showing. “This is where solid material is concentrated, making it possible for planets to form. If there was no solid material present, this material would be absorbed by the star in a phenomenon called radial slip,” he said. added.

He added, “Recently, thanks to ALMA and its extraordinary capabilities, We were able to distinguish these areas where dust resists radial sliding within the substructure such as rings and vortices within these disks. “We are extremely honored, delighted and grateful to have been recognized for the impact of our research, especially the research we have conducted and continue to conduct at the University of Chile,” she said.

Regarding his future, he says: “We’re working on a few different projects. Using observatories in the north of the country and hopefully soon the JWST space telescope, we’re trying to find planets that are forming. We’re also trying to find planets that are forming. We’re also trying to find planets that are forming. Using various programs, we are investigating how the evolution of the Earth.”100 hours with ALMA. ”

“More long-term, we plan to use complementary observations from ALMA and the VLA (Very Large Array) to study what the mass of solid material in the disk actually is, and in the future “We are calling for the North to expand this type of research, especially with new instruments and telescopes,” concluded the laureate.

Source: Biobiochile

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