Royal Astronomical Society honours Oxford scientists


The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) has awarded Oxford University scientists Dr Kerri Donaldson Hanna and Dr Rebecca Bowler with the Winton Capital prizes for 2018. The two awards recognise the outstanding research of the post-Doctoral Fellows in geophysics and astronomy.

Dr Donaldson Hanna, the UK Space Agency Aurora Research Fellow in the Department of Physics and Fellow at Christ Church, receives the prize for geophysics. Her research focuses on the planetary surfaces of airless bodies, such as the Moon, Mercury and asteroids, through infrared remote sensing. She is currently working on NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex mission to bring part of the asteroid Bennu to Earth in 2022.

In addition to her research, Dr Donaldson Hanna also organises RAS specialist discussions and acts as a mentor for planetary scientists early in their careers.

She said of the prize: “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 Bowler, Hintze Fellow in the Department of Physics and Junior Research Fellow at Brasenose, is awarded the prize for astronomy. Her research uses multi-wavelength survey data to study galaxy formation and evolution, with focus on the brightest and most vigorous star-forming galaxies during the first billion years after the Big Bang.

In 2016 Dr Bowler received the Block Prize for “promising young physicist” and has held a position as principal investigator on the Hubble Space Telescope.

She said that she was “delighted and honoured” to receive the award.