The 2013 Rossi Prize has been awarded to Alice Harding of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and Roger W. Romani of Stanford University for their work to establish a theoretical framework for understanding gamma-ray pulsars.
A gamma-ray pulsar is a rotating neutron star that emits bursts of electromagnetic energy, including gamma rays, at periodic intervals.
"While pulsars were discovered nearly 50 years ago via their radio emissions, it turns out that the radio pulses are just an energetically insignificant echo of the particle accelerators blasting away in these exotic stars' magnetospheres," said Romani. "Fermi, by detecting gamma-rays from over 100 of these neutron stars, has revealed to us the heart of the pulsar machine."
"The work of our two groups has outlined some ways to think about the shape and physical mechanisms of these celestial particle accelerators," said Harding, "and Fermi pulsar discoveries continue to put these models to the test."
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 also includes an engraved certificate and a $1,500 award. Dr. Harding and Prof. Romani will give a joint lecture at the 223rd AAS meeting in National Harbor, Maryland, in January 2014.
HEAD Press Officer
Additional information on the Rossi Prize, including previous winners: