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Enrico Costa and Jerry Fishman share Shaw Prize for gamma ray burst research

20 June 2011

Enrico Costa (INAF - Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica - Roma) and Gerald "Jerry" Fishman (NASA Marshal Space Flight Center) have been named winners of the 2011 Shaw Prize in Astronomy, the awarding foundation announced earlier this month.

Gamma ray bursts (GRBs) -- intense flashes of gamma rays emanating from cosmic sources and lasting for a few seconds to minutes -- were first detected serendipitously in 1967 by gamma ray detectors aboard the Vela satellites, and announced by Klebesadel et al. in 1973, the Shaw Prize Foundation noted.

The prize announcment said that Costa and Fishman were being recognized for having demosntrated over the past two decades that GRBs are of cosmological origin, and are the brightest sources known in the universe.

Both researchers are long-time presenters at the SPIE Astronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation symposium, including papers at the most recent event, held in 2010. Costa has published more than 60 journal and conference proceedings articles in the SPIE Digital Library, and served on SPIE several conference program committees.

The Shaw Prize is an international award honoring individuals active in their respective fields who have achieved distinguished, significant advances, and is awarded in Astronomy, Life Science and Medicine, and Mathematical Sciences. Each prize carries a monetary award of USD 1 millon.

Read the Shaw Prize Foundation press release.