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American Astronomical Society Sends Signal of Excellence to UC San Diego Physicist

January 14, 2021 | By Cynthia Dillon

01142021-green.jpgPhysicist Daniel Green.

During the recent annual American Astronomical Society meeting, UC San Diego Assistant Professor of Physics Daniel Green was named the winner of the 2020 Buchalter Cosmology Prize. He and Rafael Porto (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY, Hamburg, Germany) were selected for their paper, “Signals of a Quantum Universe.” For the first-place finish, the pair will receive $10,000.

The scientists’ research explores ways to test the ultimate origin of structure in the universe, from planets and stars to galaxies and beyond. The judging committee recognized their work as “a novel and remarkable way to unambiguously prove the quantum origin of large-scale cosmological structure, which could in turn lead to proving the quantum nature of gravity.” Green hopes this award will impact other researchers working in related areas.

“We are excited to be exploring the role of quantum mechanics in shaping the universe, and we hope this award draws more people to join the effort,” Green said. “This year’s prize recognized several exciting new directions in cosmology, and we are honored to have been included among them.”

The Buchalter Cosmology Prize is meant to stimulate ground-breaking theoretical, observational or experimental work in cosmology that challenges, extends or illuminates current models and/or helps explain the cosmic expansion from first principles. The prize was established on the premise that there are fundamental gaps in our understanding of cosmology and that currently accepted paradigms, such as inflation and dark energy, are incomplete, and possibly even incorrect, descriptions of our universe. The ultimate goal of the prize is to help spur the formulation of a broader cosmological theory that explains current observations, puts forth testable new predictions and fundamentally advances our understanding of physics.