Greek physicist wins international award
Asimina Arvanitaki, who holds the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Aristarchus Chair at Perimeter, has won the prestigious New Horizons in Physics Prize for 2017, making her the fifth Perimeter Institute Faculty member to earn the award since its inception in 2013. Arvanitaki was recognized for her pioneering work that bridges theory and experiment to forge novel ways of exploring particle physics. The award ceremony was held at NASA’s Ames Research Centre in California.
“My field of research, involving small-scale particle physics experiments, is a relatively new one, so it is rewarding for it to get this kind of recognition from the physics community,” said Arvanitaki.
Arvanitaki joined Perimeter Institute in 2014, after earning an undergraduate degree from the University of Athens and a PhD from Stanford University. Her research is broad and interdisciplinary, testing theories that are beyond the Standard Model, including supersymmetry, dark matter, and extra dimensions.
“Perimeter recruited Asimina precisely because she is a daring and unconventional young physicist developing exciting new paradigms for testing fundamental physics using precision experiments. This well-deserved recognition underlines the importance and timeliness of her work. We hope it inspires others to be similarly ambitious and visionary” said Perimeter Director Neil Turok.
“I am beyond humbled by this award. I would like to express my utmost gratitude to my PhD advisor and mentor, Savas Dimopoulos, for believing in me and making me comfortable with continuously working on ideas that have little chance of succeeding but tackle some of the most important questions. Along the way, I found supporters who wrote letters for me, who listened to my practice talks when I was terrified of public speaking, and whom I am now proud to call friends. I would also like to thank Fokion Hatzioannou, my undergraduate advisor, who spent hours teaching me and insured that I continued to graduate school. I am thankful to my parents for not panicking when their little girl told them that she wanted to leave the country and pursue an uncommon career for a woman with no clear path to success. Finally, I would like to give special thanks to John, Lawrence, and Nemanja, to Roni and Jay, to Giovanni and Sergei, to Andy, and to Junwu, Ken, Masha and Xinlu” she said in the ceremony.
Previous winners of the New Horizons in Physics Prize include Perimeter’s Davide Gaiotto (2013), Freddy Cachazo (2014), and Philip Schuster and Natalia Toro (2015).
Earlier in 2016, Arvanitaki was named the inaugural Stavros Niarchos Foundation Aristarchus Chair in Theoretical Physics at Perimeter Institute. This $8-million chair supports pioneering research into the universe at its most fundamental level, and fosters research and training ties between Perimeter Institute and Greece.