Monday, February 22, 2010

Canadian Astronomers Share Prestigous Prize

The team of astronomers led by Dr. Christian Marois of the National Research Council's Herzberg Instituute of Astrophysics has won the 2009 Newcomb Cleveland Prize of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). This award, the AAAS's oldest, recognizes the author or authors of an outstanding paper published in the journal Science.

Dr. Marois' team directly imaged three planets around the star HR 8799 using the Gemini and Keck telescopes. Their series of images show the three planets orbiting the star.

While the Marois result is exciting there will be many more planet images released in the future. At Gemini, the NICI Planet Campaign is using 500 hours on Gemini South to search for planets. In the next few years even more advanced instruments will be used to search for planets around a multitude of nearby stars. The Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) and SPHERE on the VLT should start looking for planets in late 2011.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Canadian Science Communicators Receive Awards

The American Institute of Physics (AIP) announced the three winning entries in the 2009 Science Communication Awards today. I was delighted to see Canadians win two of the three awards - yes that is 2/3 for Canadians! Dan Falk, based in Torontom won the Science Writing Category for his feature article "End of days: a universe in ruins. Cora Lee and Gillian Oreilly, writers based respectively in Vancouver and Toronto, Canada, have won the 2009 AIP Science Communication Award in the Children's Category for their book "The Great Number Rumble: A Story of Math in Surprising Places.

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