Belgian astronomer Conny Aerts wins "most important scientific prize after the Nobel Prize"
Conny Aerts (KU Leuven) has won the Kavli Prize for Astrophysics. As the first Belgian ever to win the award, she shares the prize with two other astronomers. The Kavli Prize is also dubbed "the second most important science award after the Nobel Prize": 10 of its 54 winners eventually got the Nobel Prize.
Conny Aerts did pioneering research into asteroseismology, the study of oscillations in stars. As is the case with earth quakes, they can tell us more about the inside of the stars. Professor Aerts is one of the world's leading researchers in this field.
"I helped to develop asteroseismology and applied it to stars that are very heavy and turn around very quickly. This is much more complicated mathematics than stars like our sun, which are relatively small and turn around quite slowly."
Aerts discovered that the inside of stars shows different movements than previously thought. Aerts already win the Franqui Prize in 2012 and the FWO Excellentie Prize, known as the "Belgian and Flemish Nobel Prizes" respectively.
Now, a third, international prize is being bestowed on her. Aerts hopes that the attention she is getting, will inspire girls and young women. "Diversity is top of my priority list. Teams which a lot of diversity always get better results."