Imperial College London

Imperial physicist wins first-of-its-kind science prize

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Dr Claudia de Rham

Dr Claudia de Rham is awarded USD30,000 in the inaugural Blavatnik Awards in the UK, which honour outstanding young scientists under the age of 42.

The Blavatnik Awards, established by the Blavatnik Family Foundation in the United States in 2007 and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences, honour and support exceptional early-career scientists and engineers aged 42 years or younger.

This year marks the first time the awards have been expanded to the UK and Israel. The Blavatnik Awards in the UK are the largest unrestricted cash prizes available exclusively to young scientists in the UK.

The implications of her work are extremely wide-ranging, from our understanding of the fundamental evolution of the universe to the quantum nature of gravity.

– The Blavatnik Awards

Dr de Rham is awarded a Finalist title in the Physical Sciences & Engineering category. She will receive a US$30,000 cash prize and a medal at the 2018 Blavatnik Awards in the UK Ceremony on 7 March 2018 in London.

Dr de Rham is a theoretical physicist who develops and tests models dealing with a wide variety of concepts, from the early universe and dark energy to the behaviour of gravity.

She said of winning the award: “It is of course a huge honour to be recognized with this award and I am extremely thankful to the Blavatnik Foundation.

“My area of research is that of theoretical physics with an emphasis in gravity and cosmology. By its very nature, our findings are always more of a fundamental nature, with little prospect of practical applications in the near future.

“I am therefore delighted to see this fundamental research being recognized within the physical sciences and engineering community as I believe it is essential for the development of society.”

In its citation, the Blavatnik Awards said of Dr de Rham’s work: “It has revolutionised our understanding of the nature of gravity, founding a new field of study that connects cosmology with particle physics and the nature of spacetime itself.

Collaboration and sharing ideas is the single most important aspect of our research and this is why I will use this prize to continue nurturing my existing collaborations as well as foster further collaborations with young scientists worldwide.

– Dr Claudia de Rham

“The implications of her work are extremely wide-ranging, from our understanding of the fundamental evolution of the universe to the quantum nature of gravity.”

Dr de Rham added: “I am especially grateful to Imperial College London and to Case Western Reserve University for hosting my research over the past six years and to all my collaborators worldwide. I would like to thank in particular Professor Gregory Gabadadze from NYU and Dr Andrew Tolley, also at Imperial, as receiving this award is truly the result of our teamwork.

“Collaboration and sharing ideas is the single most important aspect of our research and this is why I will use this prize to continue nurturing my existing collaborations as well as foster further collaborations with young scientists worldwide.”

Sir Leonard Blavatnik, Founder and Chairman of Access Industries and head of the Blavatnik Family Foundation, said: “In the spirit of the United Kingdom's tradition of scientific excellence and pursuit of knowledge, we are pleased to recognise and support these inaugural Blavatnik Awards Laureates and Finalists as they pursue their careers in advancing their respected fields.

"Through the promise that they have already demonstrated, we are confident they will continue pushing the boundaries of discovery and innovation."

Reporter

Hayley Dunning

Hayley Dunning
Communications and Public Affairs

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Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)20 7594 2412
Email: h.dunning@imperial.ac.uk

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