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Astronomy

Photonics well represented in Kavli, Shaw prizes; two researchers win both

SPIE Newsroom
31 May 2012

Several winners of the recently announced Kavli Prize and Shaw Prize come from the broad field of photonics and related disciplines. Remarkably, two researchers have been awarded both prizes.

The Kavli Prize in Astrophysics is shared between David C. Jewitt, University of California, Los Angeles, USA; Jane X. Luu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lincoln Laboratory, USA; and Michael E. Brown, California Institute of Technology, USA. They received the prize "for discovering and characterizing the Kuiper Belt and its largest members, work that led to a major advance in the understanding of the history of our planetary system."

The Kavli Prize in Nanoscience goes to Mildred S. Dresselhaus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, "for her pioneering contributions to the study of phonons, electron-phonon interactions, and thermal transport in nanostructures."

The Hong Kong-based Shaw Prize Foundation awarded its astronomy prize to be shared by Jewitt, a professor of astronomy and director of the Institute for Planets and Exoplanets at the UCLA, and Luu, a member of the technical staff at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. They were cited for "for their discovery and characterization of trans-Neptunian bodies, an archeological treasure dating back to the formation of the solar system and the long-sought source of short period comets."

Maxim L. Kontsevich, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Scientific Studies in France, will take the prize for mathematical sciences, for "pioneering works in algebra, geometry and mathematical physics and in particular deformation quantization, motivic integration and mirror symmetry." The winners will receive their prizes at a ceremony in September.

Most of the above-named recipients have published work in the SPIE Digital Library.

The Kavli Prizes recognize scientists for their seminal advances in three research areas: astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience. Consisting of a scroll, medal and cash award of one million dollars, a prize in each of these areas has been awarded biennially since 2008. The Kavli Prize is a partnership between The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Kavli Foundation (US) and The Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.

The Shaw Prize honors individuals who have achieved significant breakthroughs in academic and scientific research or application and whose work has resulted in a positive and profound impact on mankind. Annual prizes are in astronomy, life science and medicine, and mathematical sciences, each bearing a monetary award of one million dollars.