The Crafoord Prize 2008 combines abstract mathematics and astrophysics.
It is being awarded for mathematical discoveries that are significant for
the fundamental laws of nature and for research on black holes and the
early Universe. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award
the Prize with one half (mathematics) jointly to Maxim Kontsevich,
Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques (IHÉS), Bures-sur-Yvette,
France, and Edward Witten, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton,
NJ, USA, "for their important contributions to mathematics inspired
by modern theoretical physics", and the other half (astronomy) to
Rashid Alievich Sunyaev, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics,
Garching, Germany, and Space Research Institute (IKI) of the
Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia "for his decisive
contributions to high-energy astrophysics and cosmology, in particular
processes and dynamics around black holes and neutron stars and demonstration
of the diagnostic power of structures in the background radiation".
The official citation by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences says:
"The laureate in astronomy, Rashid Sunyaev, has studied the most
extreme processes in the Universe and developed theoretical models
of how black holes devour matter and the origin of the structure of
the cosmological background radiation. His description of how matter
drawn towards a black hole forms a thin, rapidly rotating disc is
essential if we are to understand how black holes can be the most
powerful sources of radiation in the Universe. Sunyaev´s work with
the cosmological background radiation has inspired measurements that
provide clues to the creation and structure of the Universe.
This radiation derives from a period when the Universe was only
a few hundred thousand years old and contains information about what
happened during Big Bang. On its journey to us it has also been influenced
by the distribution of matter in clusters of galaxies billions of years later."
Professor Rashid Sunyaev is director at the Max Planck Institute
for Astrophysics in Garching. He is actively working in the fields
of Physical Cosmology and High Energy Astrophysics. The prime focus
of his studies today is the Cosmological recombination of hydrogen
and helium, physics of accretion onto relativistic compact objects
and current and future X-ray and gamma-ray space missions.
The Crafoord Prize
The Crafoord Foundation
The Crafoord Prize 2008: Mathematics and Astronomy
Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst
Prof. Rashid A. Sunyaev