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The Gruber Cosmology Prize 2018 to the Planck experiment: The role of SISSA

SISSA scientists played an important part in winning the Gruber Cosmology Prize 2018, the prestigious award recently assigned to the Planck experiment of the European Space Agency.  The merit for the award, presented by the homonymous foundation based at Yale University, is the following: “The Planck project has made definitive measurements of the properties of our expanding universe. This stunning achievement was the result of a large group effort, and we are pleased to recognize both the Planck team as a whole and its principal science team leaders”.

The award was presented to Nazzareno Mandolesi and Jean-Loup Puget, responsible for the two respectively low and high frequency tools on board. SISSA, through Luigi Danese, took an active part in the first idea and drawing of the Planck satellite; subsequently, SISSA held positions of responsibility for data analysis and production of the key scientific results. Besides Danese, the research team still involved in studying the Planck data is formed by Carlo Baccigalupi, currently head of group activities and the researchers Nicoletta Krachmalnicoff and Francesca Perrotta. Several researchers took part to the Planck work at SISSA, and are now conducting research in Institutions in EU, US, India.

Baccigalupi says: «This has been my greatest scientific experience to date, for the unanimous effort, for the scope of the discoveries, for the impact on the basic knowledge of physics, made accessible to all; Planck is the essential basis on which our research group formed and it is setting its sights on current and future international feats, which promise to investigate the Big Bang in its persistent mysteries, like the possible generation of cosmological gravitational waves». This is the second prize won in a few months by the “Planck Team”, which also recently received the Group Award A from the Royal Astronomical Society.