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Wednesday, January 26, 2022


Greek astrophysicist from the Greek Diaspora won the Shaw Astronomy Award for her contribution to the study and understanding of magnetars

Greek astrophysicist from the Greek Diaspora won the Shaw Astronomy Award for her contribution to the study and understanding of magnetars

The Greek astrophysicist of the Greek diaspora Chryssa Kouveliotou

The international Shaw Prize in Astronomy for 2021 was equally shared by the Greek astrophysicist of Greek Diaspora Dr Chryssa Kouveliotou, Professor and Chair in the Department of Physics at George Washington University, USA and corresponding member of the Academy of Athens since 2016, and by Victoria M. Kaspi, a Professor of Physics and Director of McGill Space Institute at McGill University in Canada, for their contribution to the study and understanding of magnetars.

Magnets are neutron stars with very strong magnetic fields, which are associated with a wide range of high-energy astrophysical phenomena. Neutron stars are superdense magnetized remnants of stellar explosions. They rotate at intervals of milliseconds to a few seconds and emit strong beams of pulsed electromagnetic radiation (hence the name "pulsar"). Due to their rotation, they are expensive "cosmic clocks" and "laboratories" for the study of various natural phenomena in gravitational fields billions of times stronger than Earth.

The research of Kaspi and Kouveliotou was based on the theoretical prediction of the existence of neutrons with magnetic fields up to thousands of times stronger than those of simple pulsars, which produce strong c-ray flares. Electromagnetic radiation is fed mainly by huge reservoirs of magnetic energy in their magnetosphere and secondarily by their rotation.

The winners developed new observational methods, which confirmed the existence of these objects and determined their physical properties. Their work established magnetars as a new and important class of astrophysical objects.

Chryssa Kouveliotou was born in Athens in 1956. She studied physics at the University of Athens and completed her postgraduate studies at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom in 1977. She received her PhD from the Technical University of Munich and the Max Planck Institute in 1981. She attended the University of Athens and then in the United States, where she worked as a researcher at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. She has been a member of the US National Academy of Sciences since 2013 and has received a number of high honors and awards for her work.

Sources: iefimerida.gr - https://www.iefimerida.gr/ellada/ellinida-astrofysikos-brabeio-astronomias,

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