Greek scientist honoured with 2018 Award for Astrophysics

Greek Professor of physics and astronomy Vicky Kalogera has been presented with the 2018 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics for her research into compact astrophysical objects such as neutron stars, black holes and white dwarfs.

Ms Kalogera teaches physics and astronomy at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and also serves as director of Northwestern’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA). She is also known for her collaboration with other researchers in 2017 on an international project aiming to detect the collision of two neutron stars, among other significant scientific achievements.

According to Neos Kosmos, her work was cited as “fundamental contributions to advancing our understanding of the evolution and fate of compact objects in binary systems, with particular regard to their electromagnetic and gravitational wave signals.”

The eminent scientist spoke to reporters about her work saying that it has given physicists the opportunity to test the fundamental predictions of Einstein’s theory of general relativity for the first time.

As she told Neos Kosmos,”Figuring out how black holes, these hard-to-probe objects, actually form in nature is a key question in astrophysics. And probing the dense matter of neutron stars — the kinds of pressures and densities that we can never reproduce in a regular lab — is also of prime importance in astrophysics.”

Kalogera received her undergraduate degree in physics in 1992 from the University of Thessaloniki.She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for graduate school, where she completed her PhD in astronomy in 1997. After that, she joined the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics as CfA postdoctoral fellow and was awarded the Clay Fellowship in 2000. She joined the faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University in 2001.

Probing into the mysteries of the universe has earned Ms Kalogera several prestigious awards, including the American Astronomical Society’s Annie Jump Cannon Award in 2002, the American Physical Society’s Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award in 2008 and the Hans Bethe Prize of the American Physical Society (APS) in 2016.

The Dannie Heineman Prize was established in 1979 in honour of the Belgian-American engineer. It stands to recognize exceptional mid-career achievement in the field of astrophysics.


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