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Dark energy researcher wins €1.5 million award

A university physicist has won a €1.5 million prize to further her research.

The inaugural Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award will support Professor Catherine Heymans’ work in dark energy.

This mysterious substance accounts for three-quarters of the Universe but an understanding of its origin remains elusive.

Dark energy

Professor Heymans, from the School of Physics and Astronomy, has greatly advanced this field with her work, the prize-giving jury said.

By observing far distant objects in space, Professor Heymans seeks to find out whether Einstein’s theory of gravity has to be expanded to explain certain phenomena.

She will use the prize money to set up a team at the Argelander Institute for Astronomy (AlfA) in Bonn, Germany.

I am looking forward to a much closer cooperation with my colleagues at the University of Bonn and other institutions in Germany, thanks to the Max Planck- Humboldt Research Award.

Professor Catherine HeymansSchool of Physics and Astronomy

Research award

The prize is given exclusively to a researcher from a country outside Germany, and focuses on individuals whose work has outstanding potential. It aims to attract scientists from overseas to a German university or research facility for a short term.

The award, which also includes a personal prize of €80,000, is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and awarded jointly by the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Professor Heymans will be formally presented with her award in Berlin on 7 November.

If top scientists such as Catherine Heymans help us understand the universe, they are also creating a basis for future technologies … we are delighted to attract outstanding scientists like Catherine to Germany as a hub of research.

Anja KarliczekFederal Research Minister

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Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award