The Tomalla prize is attributed every few years by the Tomalla Foundation for outstanding work in gravity research (see http://www.tomalla-foundation.ch/ for previous prize winners and other activities of the Tomalla Foundation).
The Italian physicist Alessandra Buonanno has been awarded the Tomalla Prize 2022 for her outstanding work
on gravitational wave physics, especially for the effective one-body approach to describe the gravitational waves emitted by binary black holes or neutron stars, but also for other important contributions relevant for the detection of gravitational waves.
Alessandra Buonanno studied physics in Pisa where she finished her PhD in 1996. After a brief period spent at the theory division of CERN, she held postdoctoral positions at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES) in France and at the California Institute of Technology in the USA. She was a permanent researcher at the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris (IAP) and Laboratoire Astroparticule et Cosmologie (APC) in Paris with CNRS before joining the University of Maryland as physics professor.
Since 2014 she is a director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, and holds a professorship position at the University of Maryland. Since 2017 she is also honorary professor at Berlin’s Humboldt University and at Potsdam University. She is member and principal investigator of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, which discovered the first gravitational wave from two coalescing black holes in 2015.
In her theoretical work, Prof. Buonanno made seminal contributions to the modelling of gravitational
waves from the coalescence of compact-binary systems, most importantly two orbiting black holes, by combining analytical and numerical-relativity methods. A precise modelling of this signal is crucial to distinguish gravitational waves from the many contributions to the ‘noise’ in the detectors. In particular, Prof. Buonanno and her group contributed importantly to the generation of gravitational wave ‘templates’ which observers use to compare their signals with and interpret their astrophysical origin.
The Tomalla Prize ceremony 2022 will take place on December 16 at 17:30
in the Grand Auditoire de l’Ecole de Physique (24, Quai Ernest Ansermet, Genève)
The laureate will give a colloquium about her work.
The ceremony is open to the public.