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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Studies in Microwaves, Fluids Nab Scientists Big Cash
24 June 2011 3:01 am
A Russian astrophysicist who pioneered the study of fluctuations in the cosmic microwave background to learn more about the universe and an American chemist whose work led to the development of several new materials have won the Kyoto Prize from the Japanese Inamori Foundation. The 68-year-old Rashid Sunyaev, who is a director of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany, and chief scientist at the Space Research Institute in Moscow, wins the prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Basic Sciences. And 83-year-old John Cahn, an emeritus senior fellow at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, is being awarded the foundation's prize in Advanced Technology. Each winner will receive a gold medal and a cash prize of 50 million yen—roughly $625,000.
Sunyaev, who now holds both Russian and German citizenship, made fundamental contributions to cosmology in his early career in the 1960s and '70s when researchers in the former Soviet Union enjoyed little contact with the scientific community elsewhere in the world. Working with a tough mentor named Yakov Zel'dovich, Sunyaev showed that the tiny acoustic vibrations in the universe moments after the Big Bang could be observed as temperature and density variations in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, the faint afterglow of the Big Bang that suffuses the universe.
Zel'dovich and Sunyaev also predicted distortions in the CMB caused by the effect of high-energy electrons within galaxy clusters.
Researchers have since empirically observed the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect, and used it to discover galaxy clusters not detectable through other means.
In the '50s, Cahn, along with John Hilliard, a colleague at General Electric, developed an equation describing how the two components of a so-called binary fluid mixture separate. Cahn went on to establish another theory of material behavior, known as the theory of three-dimensional spinodal decomposition, which has helped others develop better-performing metals, glass, polymers, and thermal materials with unique properties. Cahn's work has also found application in the fields of physics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering, and economics.