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Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge

2018 Gruber Cosmology Prize

The 2018 Gruber Cosmology Prize has been awarded to the Planck Team, which includes several KICC researchers, and to Jean-Loup Puget (the Principal Investigator of the Planck High-Frequency Instrument) and Nazzareno Mandolesi (the Principal Investigator of the Low-Frequency Instrument). Planck was a satellite, launched in 2009, which mapped the temperature and linear polarization of the cosmic microwave background radiation, the afterglow of the big bang, with unprecedented accuracy. These data allowed exquisite tests of our standard model of cosmology and measurement of the matter content, geometry and initial conditions of the Universe. The Planck team at Cambridge, led by Prof. George Efstathiou, made leading contributions to the analysis of data from the Planck satellite across a number of areas. These included development of the likelihood used to compare statistically the data to cosmological theories, separation of the data collected over nine wavebands into Galactic and extragalactic astrophysical components, identification of the imprint of distant clusters of galaxies and other compact objects in the data, extraction of the subtle effects of gravitational lensing (light bending) by large-scale structures in the Universe, and critical tests of the physics of the early universe through measurements of the level of Gaussianity of the CMB fluctuations.

The team continue to work on the Planck data, with a final "legacy" release planned for early summer.