CIFAR members win prestigious prize in Cosmology

Cosmology & Gravity Announcement 09.06.2011

CIFAR is pleased to announce that three of the four winners of this year’s Gruber Cosmology Prize are part of the Institute’s Cosmology and Gravity program. The CIFAR winners are George Efstathiou, Carlos Frenk, and Simon White.

The Gruber Cosmology Prize is a prestigious international reward that honors scholars for “discoveries leading to fundamental advances in our understanding of the universe.”

The Gruber Foundation honored this year’s winners for their innovative use of numerical simulations to shape the way we understand the composition and growth of our universe. These simulations are computer models that imitate the formation and growth of galaxies.

Drs. Efstathiou, Frenk and White, along with Dr. Marc Davis from the University of California, were recognized for a collaboration that began in the 1980s. Before this time, there was no method to test cosmological theories against astronomical observations. The researchers developed a numerical simulation to model and interpret the distribution of matter in the universe. This was a powerful new tool to compare theory with observation.

They then used the simulation to validate the theory that the universe evolved under the influence of cold dark matter. Their work was influential in shaping current understanding of the cosmos. As well, numerical simulations are now a standard tool in cosmology.

“On behalf of CIFAR, I congratulate these award-winning researchers,” said Chaviva M. Hošek, CIFAR’s President and CEO. “I am pleased that their work has received the recognition it so richly deserves.”

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