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AGILE Wins Top High-Energy Prize

Press Release From: Harvard University
Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The 2012 Rossi Prize has been awarded to astrophysicist Marco Tavani and the AGILE team for the discovery of gamma-ray flares from the Crab Nebula. Long thought to be a steady source of energy -- from optical to gamma rays -- this finding has changed the understanding of this very important cosmic object.

"The production of these incredible gamma-ray flares from the Crab Nebula is a feat that will lead us to a deeper understanding of the fundamental processes of particle acceleration in cosmic sources," said Dr. Tavani. "AGILE unveiled this phenomenon in part because of its rapid data acquisition and processing -- a large success for a 'small mission'."

AGILE ("Astrorivelatore Gamma a Immagini Leggero") is an Italian Space Agency (ASI) mission dedicated to the observation of the gamma-ray Universe. The mission is conducted with the participation of the Italian Institutes of Astrophysics (INAF) and Nuclear Physics (INFN). Dr. Tavani, of the INAF-Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica in Rome and University of Rome "Tor Vergata", is the Principal Investigator of the AGILE mission.

The AAS High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) awards the Rossi Prize in recognition of significant contributions as well as recent and original work in high-energy astrophysics. The prize is in honor of Professor Bruno Rossi, an authority on cosmic-ray physics and a pioneer in the field of X-ray astronomy. The prize includes an engraved certificate and a $1,500 award. Dr. Tavani will give a lecture at the 221st AAS meeting in Long Beach, California, in January 2013.

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More information about AGILE:
* http://agile.iasf-roma.inaf.it/
* http://agile.asdc.asi.it/

Information on previous winners of the Rossi Prize:
* http://www.aas.org/head/rossi/rossi.recip.html

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