Exploring the Universe from Argentina
- Félix Mirabel Instituto de Astronomía y Física del Espacio
- Karen Hallberg (GUEST EDITOR) Centro Atómico Bariloche
In this publication the four major international projects in astrophysics and cosmology being developed in Argentina are described: QUBIC and LLAMA in the Puna of the province of Salta, the Pierre Auger Observatory and ANDES in the region of Cuyo.
Félix Mirabel proposed in December 2007 to the Ministry of Science and Technology of Argentina the idea of the project LLAMA described in this publication, initiating the steps for the financial participation of Brazil in this project. As scientific researcher, Mirabel has been principal driver in the discoveries of three new classes of cosmic objects: Microquasars, which are objects of topical interest in High Energy Astrophysics, and Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxies, and Tidal Dwarf Galaxies. In the last decade, Mirabel has concentrated his research in Cosmology, working on the role of astrophysical high energy sources at cosmic dawn. Because of his scientific contributions he received several distinctions in Europe, USA and Argentina: The Doctorate Honoris Causa from the University of Barcelona, the Prize on Scientific Excellence of the French Atomic Energy Commission, the “Grand Prize Deslandes” of the French Academy of Sciences, the Rossi Prize of the High Energy Division of the American Astronomical Society, the EPSCOR Prize for Science Productivity of the National Science Foundation of USA, and the Guggenheim fellowship to finance his research at Caltech. In Argentina he received the Houssay Prize of MinCyT for the Trajectory, the Konex foundation Prize for research in Physics and Astronomy in the 2000- 2010 decade, and the Dr. Sahade Prize of the Argentine Astronomical Association in 2018. Félix Mirabel was born in Uruguay and is a naturalized citizen of Argentina. After finishing high school in Montevideo, obtained a Ph.D. in Astronomy at the University of La Plata, and the title of Professor of Philosophy from the University of Buenos Aires. In March 1976, he leaves to England as a post-doc fellow at the Jodrell Bank Radio Observatory, financed by fellowships of the British Council and the University of Manchester. Two years later he moved to the USA carrying out research at several institutions: as post-doc at the University of Maryland, as associate researcher at Caltech, and as Professor of Physics at the University of Puerto Rico with research at the Arecibo Radio Observatory. Before his return to Argentina, he moved back to Europe becoming Director of Research at the French Atomic Commission, from where he was later commissioned as Representative and Director of the Office of Science in Chile of the European Southern Observatories (ESO). At present, Mirabel is emeritus Researcher of the National Research Council of Argentina at the Institute of Astronomy and Space Physics in Buenos Aires, and member of the National Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences of Argentina.
After finishing high school in the province of Jujuy, Argentina, Karen Hallberg studied two years of electronic engineering at the National University of Rosario and later obtained a full scholarship to study physics at the Instituto Balseiro in Bariloche (National Atomic Energy Commission CNEA, and National University of Cuyo), where she also did her PhD in Physics. She had postdoctoral positions at the Max-Planck Institutes in Stuttgart and in Dresden, Germany. Currently, she is Principal Researcher of the Argentine Council for Science and Technology (CONICET) working at the Bariloche Atomic Center (CAB) and is Professor at the Balseiro Institute. She was recently elected as International Councilor of the American Physical Society (APS) and invited as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Quantum Applications. She is also a Council member of the Pugwash Conferences for Science and World Affairs (1995 Peace Nobel Prize), member of the Argentine Committee for Ethics in Science and Technology, corresponding member of the Argentine Academy for Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences, member of the Latin American Academy of Sciences, Senior Associate of the ICTP (International Center for Theoretical Physics, Trieste), Associate Member ICTPSAIFR, member of the International Advisory Council of the International Institute of Physics, Natal (Brazil) and member of the Editorial Board of Physical Review Research (APS). She served as the Head of the Condensed Matter Department at CAB, as the Argentine representative to the Latin American Center of Physics (CLAF), as member of the Board of Directors of the Aspen Science Center, and on several other national and international committees. She was awarded the 2019 L’Oreal-UNESCO International Award For Women in Science (for Latin America), honorary doctorates at the National University of Jujuy and at the University Siglo XXI, an honorary IAEA Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellowship, the 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship and was an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar. Her research topics include the development of state-of-the-art computational approaches to understand the physics of quantum matter and nanoscopic systems. She is actively committed to reducing the gender gap and increasing awareness of ethical considerations in science.