Maynooth University Professor J. Anthony Murphy among recipients of 2018 Gruber Cosmology Prize for work on Planck Satellite

Planck cruising to its deep space orbit at L2 (artist's impression). Image: ESA – D. Ducros
Friday, September 7, 2018 - 10:30

Prof J. Anthony Murphy is a member of the European Space Agency Planck Satellite Team that was recently awarded the 2018 Gruber Cosmology Prize at the XXX General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union, in Vienna.

Prof Murphy was a co-investigator on the development of the high frequency instrument (HFI) on board the satellite. Dr Vladimir Yurchenko, who was a visiting research fellow in Maynooth working on the development of Planck Surveyor for a number of years, also was listed as a member of the Planck Team.

The Planck Principal Investigators were Nazzareno Mandolesi and Jean-Loup Puget, who led the work which made definitive measurements of the properties of our expanding universe.

The Planck Team of more than 350 names is listed by the Gruber Foundation, recognizing that this work is an ongoing collaborative effort. A number of graduate students and post docs also worked on Planck at Maynooth.

The Gruber Cosmology Prize is awarded annually to honour a leading cosmologist, astronomer, astrophysicist or scientific philosopher for theoretical, analytical, conceptual or observational discoveries leading to fundamental advances in our understanding of the universe.

The citation to the 2018 Prize reads: “The Gruber Foundation is pleased to present the 2018 Cosmology Prize to the Planck Team, and to Jean-Loup Puget and Nazzareno Mandolesi, the leaders of the HFI and LFI instrument consortia, for mapping the temperature and polarization of the cosmic microwave background radiation with the ESA Planck spacecraft.”

Planck measured, with unprecedented precision the matter content and geometry of the universe; the imprint on the CMB of hot gas in galaxy clusters and of gravitational lensing by large-scale structure; constrained a hypothetical `inflationary' phase; pinned down when the first stars formed, and provided unique information about interstellar dust and magnetic fields in our Galaxy.

It is the second major prize for the Planck team this year, as they were also honoured by the Royal Astronomical Society in January.

The team list and other information is available at: