The Daniel Chalonge Medal 2011 was awarded to John C. Mather, at the 15th Paris Cosmology Colloquium on 22 July this year, in recognition of his contributions to modern cosmology. The award was presented by the Ecole Internationale d’Astrophysique Daniel Chalonge.
Mather, who won a Nobel Prize in physics in 2006 for his work with the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) – notably measuring the black body form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation– is presently the senior project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope project, and a senior astrophysicist at the observational cosmology laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, in the United States.
He has also participated in work undertaken by the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, the Centre for Astrophysical Research in the Antarctic, the National Academy of Sciences, NASA and the National Science Foundation.
Both the award and the Chalonge school were named after the French physicist Daniel Chalonge (1895-1977), who is known for his work in experimental and theoretical astrophysics, as well as for the development of the microphotometer.
The Chalonge Medal is exclusively minted for the Chalonge school by the Monnaie de Paris, and is given for great scientific endeavours undertaken with a human face. Only eight medals have been awarded in the twenty year history of the school.
The faces of the medal were designed by the famous French artist Madeleine Pierre Quérolle, with one side depicting a portrait of Daniel Chalonge, and the other showing Orion and the Milky Way – reflected in the mirror of a telescope – above his geological namesake, Chalonge Mountain, in the French Alps.
For more information, please visit the Daniel Chalonge Medal website.