Array Telescope
Array Telescope

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Oxford space scientists receive Royal Astronomical Society honours

The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) has awarded 2018 Winton Capital prizes, which recognise the outstanding work of young researchers, to Oxford University scientists Dr Rebecca Bowler and Dr Kerri Donaldson Hanna.

Dr Kerri Donaldson Hanna, UKSA Aurora Research Fellow in the Department of Physics, is honoured for her contribution to her field of geophysics. Specialising in the study of the surface compositions of rocky, airless bodies through infrared remote sensing, Dr Donaldson Hanna is currently playing a key role on NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex mission to return a sample of the asteroid Bennu to Earth in 2022. 

Her research record includes leading on projects combining datasets across multiple wavelength ranges and work in the field of thermal infrared spectroscopy. Alongside her research goals, Dr Donaldson Hanna also makes contributions to the wider planetary science community, organising RAS specialist discussion meetings and acting as a committed mentor for budding planetary scientists.

Dr Donaldson Hanna said: 'I feel quite honoured to be recognised for my early career achievements through such a prestigious award and genuinely appreciate those that nominated me for the award.'

Dr Rebecca Bowler, Hintze Fellow in the Department of Physics at Oxford University, receives the prize for astronomy. Through her work demonstrating that highly luminous objects do exist into the epoch of re-ionisation, and understanding star-forming galaxies at ultra-high redshifts, she has helped to shape our knowledge of the world above us.

Although still in the early stages of her career, Dr Bowler has already served as principal investigator on Hubble Space Telescope, ALMA and VLT projects. She was also awarded the 2016 Block Prize for ‘promising young physicist.’

Dr Bowler said she was ‘delighted and honoured’ to receive the RAS award.