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Prof. Irene Tamborra

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Prof. Irene Tamborra

The 2019 MERAC Prize for the Best Early Career Researcher in New Technologies (Multi-Messenger) is awarded to Prof. Irene Tamborra (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) for pioneering contributions to understanding the role of neutrinos in astronomy and astrophysics.

Irene Tamborra completed her (under-) graduate studies in Physics, all Cum Laude, at the University of Bari in 2011. Her PhD thesis focused on neutrinos in astrophysics and cosmology. She then won a prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Physics. She continued to work on neutrino flavour conversions in dense media while expanding towards astrophysics. In 2013, Irene joined the GRavitational AstroParticle Physics Amsterdam (GRAPPA) Center of Excellence at the University of Amsterdam. Close interactions with the astronomers guided her on the modelling of the microphysics of cosmic accelerators through multi-wavelength data. In 2016, Irene joined the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen as Knud Højgaard Assistant Professor and won a Villum Young Investigator Grant. In 2017, Irene was promoted Associate Professor and awarded a career-development grant from the University of Copenhagen. More recently, she has received a competitive Sapere Aude grant from the Danish Council for Independent Research and a Distinguished Associate Professor Fellowship from the Carlsberg Foundation. She is also Mercator Fellow for the Collaborative Research Centre 1258 at the Max Planck Institutes for Physics and Astrophysics.

Irene Tamborra has made pioneering work in advancing our understanding of the role of neutrinos in extreme astrophysical sources. Among many examples, she has discovered the LESA instability, the first hydrodynamical instability occurring in core-collapse supernovae completely driven by neutrinos. She has proposed innovative ideas concerning the exploration of astrophysical transients by using neutrinos as probes, and has demonstrated a highly original research approach connecting the theoretical modelling of the microphysics of astrophysical transients to observations. This led to unravel fundamental properties of neutrinos in dense matter, to unveil the impact of neutrinos on the production of the heavy elements and the dynamics of transient astrophysical sources, as well as to highlight the promising approach of using neutrinos as probes of the inner working of extreme astrophysical sources.


The work of Irene Tamborra has been conducted at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, at Max Planck Institutes for Physics and Astrophysics, Germany, at GRAPPA, Center of Excellence of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and at the Department of Physics, University of Bari, Italy.