2018 Fred Hoyle Medal and Prize

Professor Hiranya Peiris of University College London and the Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmoparticle Physics, Stockholm for her leading contributions to understanding the origin and evolution of cosmic structure, by pioneering an interdisciplinary approach that combines theoretical, statistical and observational cosmology, astrophysics, numerical relativity and theoretical physics.

2018 Fred Hoyle Medal and Prize Professor Hiranya Peiris

Professor Hiranya Peiris is a pioneer in the efforts to understand the physical origin of cosmological structure seeded in the first moments of the universe. Her contribution to the field is distinguished by the unique way she has combined cosmological observations, theoretical physics and advanced statistical methods.

She is a world leader in the analysis of large cosmological data-sets, including the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and galaxy surveys, which she has then used to constrain fundamental physics. She led the first paper testing cosmological inflation with the seminal Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe CMB observations, work that redefined the boundary between cosmology and high-energy physics. Subsequently came leading roles in the Planck satellite CMB analysis, testing for signatures of inflationary physics and departures from statistical isotropy. She is a pioneer in the emerging field of astrostatistics, developing innovative Bayesian statistical methods that have now become part of the standard toolkit for cosmological data analysis.

She has led the efforts to determine the implications of fundamental physics for the very early universe, has pioneered the study of observable consequences of highly non-linear pre-Big Bang events – such as the collision of ‘bubble universes’ during eternal inflation – and developed the first application of numerical relativity in a cosmological setting. Further high-impact work has included the determination of distinctive observable signatures of inflationary models embedded in string theory.

In 2016 she was appointed as Director of the Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmoparticle Physics in Stockholm, a truly dynamic and successful European research centre. Currently serving as Vice President of the Royal Astronomical Society, in 2016 she was elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Her outreach work is outstanding, placing her among the very best advocates for cosmology anywhere.

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