16 March 2005, No. 06/2005

Max Planck Research Award 2005 goes to two astrophysicists

Christopher Carilli and Christof Wetterich are the recipients of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation's and the Max Planck Society's International Research Award

The Max Planck Research Award 2005, valued at 750,000 EUR is being granted to the American radio astronomer, Christopher Carilli, and the German particle physicist, Christof Wetterich.

Dr. Carilli works at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, New Mexico, USA, and is one of the leading experts on radio astronomy world-wide. Professor Dr. Wetterich researches at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at Heidelberg University and is considered to be one of the most creative pioneers in astro-particle physics. Both of them research into the origins of the universe - one from the practical, observation side, the other from the theoretical standpoint - and are seeking explanations for the existence and effects of dark energy. Understanding this phenomenon would allow inferences to be drawn on the origins and the future of the universe.

Christopher Carilli, a former Humboldt Fellow, observes the traces of the most distant galaxies from the early period of the universe and develops the observation equipment and measuring techniques necessary to do so. He is significantly involved in developing the next generation of radio telescopes. Carilli thus creates the observation data; the basis for the development and application of new theoretical methods is a field in which Christof Wetterich is a leading figure. He is considered an outstanding expert capable of forging ahead with the cooperation essential between theoretical physics, astronomical observation and numerical simulation. As the "discoverer" of the "quintessence model", he has provided one of the most popular explanations for the accelerated expansion of the universe.

The Max-Planck Research Award, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and Max-Planck Sociey International Research Award, is funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). It promotes German and foreign academics in disciplines of particular relevance to the future. The award is conferred on one researcher working in Germany and one working abroad who have already gained an international reputation and who are expected to produce outstanding achievements in the framework of international collaboration. The award is announced on an annually-alternating basis for an area within the sciences and engineering, the life sciences or the humanities.

The Max Planck Research Award will be conferred by the Federal Minister of Research, Edelgard Bulmahn, on 29 June 2005 in Berlin.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation 

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation annually enables more than 1800 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of some 23,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in 130 countries worldwide - including 40 Nobel Prize winners.

The Max Planck Society 

promotes basic research at top international level in science, the life sciences and the humanities. More than 12,000 staff - and a further 9,000 guest academics, doctoral students and student assistants - are involved in research and create the preconditions for economic and social innovation.

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