back to news Dec. 4, 2017

Astrophysicist Christopher Hirata receives an "Oscar of science"

Astronomy and physics professor Christopher Hirata is the first faculty member from Ohio State to receive a New Horizons in Physics Prize, an award given alongside the annual Breakthrough Prizes, which have come to be known as the "Oscars of science." 

Hirata — also a member of the Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics —  received the prize in recognition of his “fundamental contributions to understanding the physics of early galaxy formation and to sharpening and applying the most powerful tools of precision cosmology.” His work focuses on dark matter and dark energy, which are believed to control how galaxies form and how the universe expands, and his research has drawn together elements of big data, device engineering and theoretical physics, according to a university news release.

Hirata received the $100,000 prize on Dec. 3 at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., at the Breakthrough Prize ceremony, which was hosted by Morgan Freeman and attended by Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Kerry Washington and various other celebrities.

Up to three New Horizon in Physics Prizes are given to up-and-coming, early-career physicists per year, and the other recipients this year include Andrea Young of University of California, Santa Barbara, and Douglas Stanford of the Institute for Advanced Study and Stanford University.

The Breakthrough Prize ceremony is presented by co-founders Sergey Brin (Google), Yuri Milner (DST Global) and Julia Milner, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Priscilla Chan (Chan Zuckerberg Initiatives), and Anne Wojcicki (23andMe), along with Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter.

.@ASCatOSU researcher Christopher Hirata is first at @OhioState to receive the prestigious New Horizons in Physics Prize #ASCDaily