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ASTROPHYSICIST'S THESIS HAS THE WINNING FORMULA

Last Updated on Friday, 07 May 2010 21:08
Published on Wednesday, 23 February 2005 00:00

A young astrophysicist working in the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge has been awarded a £1000 prize by the Royal Astronomical Society for his research on the cosmic microwave background - the afterglow of the 'big bang' that fills the universe. Dr Anthony Challinor is this year's recipient of the Michael Penston prize, offered annually by the Royal Astronomical Society for the best PhD thesis in the UK on a topic in astronomy.


Dr Challinor is a graduate of Cambridge University, where he read Natural Sciences at Queens' College. He studied for his PhD in the Astrophysics Group at the Cavendish Laboratory under the supervision of Professor Anthony Lasenby and has held a research fellowship at Queens' since 1998. This year he was awarded a Post-doctoral Research Fellowship by the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC). Before going to Cambridge, he attended Codsall High School in south Staffordshire, where his family live.

On hearing the news that he had won the Michael Penston prize, Dr Challinor said, 'Obviously I am delighted. For a young scientist like me, it is particularly pleasing to have your work recognised in this way.' The prize will be presented at a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in London on Friday 8 December, when Dr Challinor will give a presentation on his work.

The winning research was about the physics behind the minuscule irregularities in the cosmic microwave background (CMB), which is otherwise the same everywhere in the universe. Dr Challinor explained, 'Information gleaned from the CMB is helping to provide answers to many intriguing questions such as, "What is the age and ultimate fate of the universe?" and "What kind of matter dominates the universe?" Making reliable computations so different theories can be tested against actual observations is an essential part of the process.' Continuing his research, Dr Challinor is now involved in data simulation and analysis in preparation for the European Space Agency's 'Planck' satellite mission, which is due for launch in 2007 and will measure the properties of the CMB with unprecedented accuracy.

The Michael Penston Prize is sponsored jointly by the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) and by the Royal Astronomical Society, through the Michael Penston Fund, which was established by Fellows of the Society as a memorial to the late Dr Michael Penston, a distinguished astrophysicist who had a special interest in astronomy education. It is administered by the Royal Astronomical Society's Education Committee.

Dr Anthony Challinor may be contacted at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge:

Phone 01223 337365 e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

 

Issued by:
Dr Jacqueline Mitton, RAS Press Officer
Office & home phone: Cambridge ((0)1223) 564914
FAX: Cambridge ((0)1223) 572892
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