A&S's Renée Hložek Wins Harvey B. Richer Medal

March 15, 2021 by Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics

Professor Renée Hložek has been awarded the Harvey B. Richer Gold Medal for her contributions to astronomy. The Richer Medal is awarded every second year by the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) in recognition of significant and sustained early career research within the field.

Hložek, an assistant professor at the Dunlap Institute and the David A. Dunlap Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, will receive the award at an upcoming virtual CASCA meeting. She says she’s honoured to be recognized.

“I still pinch myself that I’m able to work in Canada, so receiving this award just blows me away,” Hložek says. “I work in large collaborations of scientists to build big telescopes so that we can get enough data to answer fundamental questions in cosmology. I’m really moved that some of this work is being recognized with the Richer medal.”

Hložek uses data to try and understand what the Universe is made of, its structure, and how it is changing with time. She works in the Simons Observatory collaboration, an international group of  scientists building a series of microwave telescopes in the Atacama desert of  Northern Chile, to observe the afterglow of the Big Bang. She is also part of the Rubin Observatory’s Dark Energy Science Collaboration which is gearing up to use the Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) to unravel the mysteries of cosmic acceleration.

“This is fantastic recognition of Professor Hložek’s many contributions,” says Dunlap Institute Director Bryan Gaensler. “She has had an electrifying effect on Canadian astronomy, and has brought many new ideas, approaches and discoveries to the table. It’s exciting to think that she is still only very early in her career – her future is very bright.”

The Richer Medal was established in 2016 following a gift from Professor Harvey B. Richer, a former Director of CASCA and a Professor at the University of British Columbia.

Hložek is the first researcher from the University of Toronto to receive this prestigious award.