Heino Falcke, professor of astroparticle physics and radio astronomy at Radboud University, has won the 2023 Balzan Prize in the category "high-resolution images, from planetary to cosmic objects". Falcke receives the award for his pioneering work in imaging black holes and his leadership in the Event Horizon Telescope consortium. Falcke is a founding member of the Event Horizon Telescope consortium, which published the first image of a black hole in galaxy M87 in 2019.
Water is essential for life as we know it. However, scientists debate how it reached the Earth and whether the same processes could seed rocky exoplanets orbiting distant stars. New insights may come from the system PDS 70, located 370 light-years away. It hosts an inner disk and outer disk, separated by a 5 billion-mile-wide (8 billion km) gap, and within that gap are two known gas-giant planets. The finding shows a water reservoir is available for terrestrial planets that might be coalescing there.
This week two astronomers from Radboud University were awarded prestigious prizes. On 6 July Katie Mulrey received the Langerhuizen Bate from the Royal Holland Scientific Society for her work on detecting cosmic rays with LOFAR 2.0. Maaike Pierik was awarded a grant from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds on 5 July to do field work in Namibia as part of her PhD studies. Both awards come with a cash prize to be used towards the laureate’s research.
A team of European astronomers, along with Indian and Japanese colleagues, has reported evidence that strongly suggests the detection of ultra-low-frequency gravitational waves. Such waves, which have not previously been observed, probably originate from pairs of supermassive black holes at the centre of merging galaxies. This discovery is the result of more than 25 years of observations with the most sensitive radio telescopes in Europe and India, including the Westerbork Synthesis Radio Telescope (WSRT) in the Netherlands. In doing so, they have opened a new window for studying gravitational waves, which can give astronomers a glimpse into the universe's best-kept secrets. The team's research has been published in a series of articles in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Andrew Levan finds a new origin of gamma-ray bursts . Andrew Levan and colleagues have detected a long-duration gamma-ray burst near the center of an old galaxy for the first time. This location is so exceptional as to suggest a third possibleway of creating these long gamma-ray bursts. In addition to the collapse of a massive star, and a merger of binary stars at the end of their lives, this paper suggests the collision of two independent neutron stars as the origin of the gamma-ray burst.”
New theoretical research by Michael Wondrak, Walter van Suijlekom and Heino Falcke of Radboud University has shown that Stephen Hawking was right about black holes, although not completely. Due to Hawking radiation, black holes will eventually evaporate, but the event horizon is not as crucial as has been believed. Gravity and the curvature of spacetime cause this radiation too. This means that all large objects in the universe, like the remnants of stars, will eventually evaporate.
The Dutch Research Council, NWO, has awarded a grant of 3.45 million euros to a Dutch team, together with British, Finnish and Namibian astronomers, that will enable the first colour movies of black holes. The astronomers will build the first millimetre-wave radio telescope in Namibia. It will be a part of the worldwide Event Horizon Telescope network that took the first picture of a black hole. The telescope will help gain a better understanding of the full range of black holes in the Universe, big and small.
"Katie Mulrey wins the RNVH Jubileum Prize for the Exact Sciences”Dr. Katie Mulrey has been awarded the Jubileum Prize for the Exact Sciences from the Radboud Network for Female Professors (RNVH) on March 8, International Women’s Day. The Jubileum Prizes are awarded biennially to excellent young female researchers in the sciences, arts, humanities and medical science. The jury, chaired by rector Han van Krieken, lauded Katie’s excellent work on cosmic-ray and neutrino detection and emphasized her important role in the instrumentation development.“Katie Mulrey wint de RNVH Jubileumprijs voor Exacte Wetenschap”Dr. Katie Mulrey heeft op 8 maart, Internationale Vrouwendag, de Jubileumprijs voor Exacte Wetenschap van het Radboud Netwerk voor Vrouwelijke Hoogleraren (RNVH) gewonnen. De Jubileumprijzen worden elke twee jaar uitgereikt aan uitmuntende jonge vrouwelijke onderzoekers in de alfa, beta, gamma, en medische wetenschappen. De jury, met rector Han van Krieken als voorzitter, roemde Katies excellente werk aan detectie van komische-straling en neutrino’s en benadrukte haar belangrijke rol in ontwikkeling van instrumentatie.