Rashid Sunyaev receives 2011 Kyoto Prize

The Inamori Foundation announced that this year's Kyoto prize in science goes to Prof. Rashid Sunyaev, director at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Germany, for his ”Contribution to Precise Observational Cosmology through the Theory of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation Fluctuations“.

Fig.: MPA-Director Rashid Sunyaev

The Kyoto Prize is the key scientific prize in Japan established by the Inamori Foundation. It is named after Kyoto - a city well-known for its history and great cultural and scientific traditions. Previous recipients of the Kyoto Prize included the world recognized astronomers Jan Oort, Chushiro Hayashi, Eugene Parker, great mathematicians and geophysicists, biologists, material scientists, philosophers and well-known representatives of the artistic community.

According to the official citation, "Dr. Rashid A. Sunyaev has influenced contemporary observational cosmology in many ways and his theoretical studies continue to help studying the expansion of the Universe. In his work, he describes how acoustic oscillations in the early universe left their imprint on temperature fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background radiation and how this radiation is scattered by hot electrons in the clusters of galaxies. He has also made significant contributions to high-energy astronomy through his theoretical research on the accretion of matter onto high-density celestial objects and the energy release mechanisms involved, and led international observational projects in this area."

The work on acoustic oscillations and the cosmic microwave background distortions by clusters of galaxies was started by Rashid Sunyaev and Yakov Zeldovich in late 1960s and early 1970s. Since then their ideas have evolved from pure theoretical models into most powerful tools of modern observational Cosmology.

Together with Dr. Rashid Sunyaev, there are two other laureates: Dr. John Werner Cahn in the category "Advanced Technology" and Tamasaburo Bando V in the category "Arts and Philosophy". The presentation ceremony for the Kyoto Prize will be held at the Kyoto International Conference Center in Kyoto, Japan, on 10. November 2011. At the ceremony, each laureate will be presented with a certificate, a Kyoto Prize Gold Medal, and prize money of 50 million yen (about 430.000 Euro) per category.