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Nanda Rea wins the 4th Fundació Banc Sabadell Prize for Science and Engineering
09/06/2020
 
Nanda Rea, researcher from the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) at the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC), has won the prize for her contribution to the field of astrophysics, for the study of a class of neutron stars with extremely intense magnetic fields: magnetars, a particular type of pulsar.

The prize, worth EUR 50,000, aims to recognise the achievements of young researchers.


The Fundació Banc Sabadell Prizes for Science and Engineering and Biomedical Research aims to recognize the careers of young researchers who stand out for their excellence and capacity for innovation. This year, two women scientists have received awards for their work in the fields of astrophysics and neuroscience.

The jury of the 4th Fundació Banco Sabadell Prize for Science and Engineering, after reviewing the 39 applications received, has recognised Dr. Nanda Rea, researcher from the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC  — Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya) at the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC), for her contribution to the field of astrophysics, with a focus on the study of a neutron stars class with extremely intense magnetic fields: magnetars, a particular type of pulsar. Her research focuses on observations and theoretical simulations of neutron stars, the compact and highly magnetic remnants of relatively massive star supernova explosions.

Dr. Nanda Rea has a degree in Physics and a PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Rome Tor Vergata. Since 2016 she has been a CSIC scientist at ICE (CSIC-IEEC) in Barcelona. She recently obtained an H2020 ERC Consolidator Grant with the aim of studying the population of neutron stars in our galaxy through population synthesis simulations, and is the Principal Investigator of an H2020 COST action on neutron stars covering 30 countries and more than 300 scientists worldwide. Dr. Rea's research has focused on magnetars, high-speed rotating neutron stars with extremely intense magnetic fields. She was the one to discover the first weak magnetic field magnetar. She has also contributed to the development of models that explain their behavior under very strong magnetic fields, establishing that magnetars are not stable radiation emitters, but variable sources.

"What we study in my laboratory are magnetars, a particular type of pulsar, which is what remains after a star 10 times the size of the sun ends its life and explodes. Once it explodes, it leaves behind its core, which remains very compact and with very high density," says Dr Rea. And she adds: "This nucleus is like a big sphere, as large as Barcelona, but with all the mass of the Sun inside. The more we know about how physics works in these environments, the more we can innovate, for example, in new technologies using these physical properties.”

"This type of award is very important to raise awareness of the research work of young scientists, and in my case, to make the role of women in science more visible so that it can begin to be the standard choice among the young," says the IEEC researcher at ICE.

The president of the jury of the 4th Fundació Banc Sabadell Prize for Science and Engineering, Prof. Andreu Mas-Colell (president of BIST, Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, a collaborating entity of this prize), said: "Dr. Nanda Rea is a researcher with a brilliant scientific career, who has been able to surprise, impact and innovate in a field of astrophysics as mature and central as that of neutron stars. We have also noticed that, as a scientist, she covers all aspects: the observational one — where she works with very large teams when coordination, which she has repeatedly led, is necessary — and the development of explanatory theories of the observations "that do not fit"".

"Awards are important for young people for obvious reasons: they provide recognition, visibility, and they help, directly or indirectly, better access to resources. But youth awards are also important for the research system of a country as a whole: young scientists will be, in part because of the effect of the awards themselves, the scientific and institutional leaders of tomorrow. It is therefore important that the jurors do their work with rigour," adds Prof. Mas-Colell.

Dr. Guillermina López-Bendito, from the Institute of Neurosciences of the CSIC, has been awarded the 2020 prize for her innovative contribution in the field of developmental neurobiology, making pioneering contributions to understanding the formation and plasticity of nerve connections during the development of the brain, under normal conditions and in models of sensory deprivation. Her research may inspire the design of tools capable of repairing defective neural connections in patients with congenital or acquired sensory deficits, such as some cases of blindness.

Links

- IEEC
- ICE
- Fundación Banco Sabadell

More information

The Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC  — Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya) promotes and coordinates space research and technology development in Catalonia for the benefit of society. IEEC fosters collaborations both locally and worldwide and is an efficient agent of knowledge, innovation and technology transfer. As a result of over 20 years of high-quality research, done in collaboration with major international organisations, IEEC ranks among the best international research centers, focusing on areas such as: astrophysics, cosmology, planetary science, and Earth Observation. IEEC’s engineering division develops instrumentation for ground- and space-based projects, and has extensive experience in working with private or public organisations from the aerospace and other innovation sectors.  

IEEC is a private non-profit foundation, governed by a Board of Trustees composed of Generalitat de Catalunya and four other institutions that each have a research unit, which together constitute the core of IEEC R&D activity: the University of Barcelona (UB) with the research unit ICCUB — Institute of Cosmos Sciences; the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) with the research unit CERES — Center of Space Studies and Research; the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) with the research unit CTE — Research Group in Space Sciences and Technologies; the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) with the research unit ICE — Institute of Space Sciences. IEEC is integrated in the CERCA network (Centres de Recerca de Catalunya).

Video


Contacts

IEEC Communication Office
Barcelona, Spain

Rosa Rodríguez Gasén
E-mail: comunicacio@ieec.cat 

Nanda Rea
Barcelona, Spain

Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC)
Instituto os Space Science (ICE, CSIC)
Researcher
E-mail: rea@ice.csic.es 

Carmen Moreno
Barcelona, Spain

Fundació Banc Sabadell
E-mail: morenocarmen@bancsabadell.com
 
Attached Documents
Generalitat de CatalunyaUniversitat de BarcelonaUniversitat Autònoma de BarcelonaUniversitat Politècnica de CatalunyaConsejo Superior de Investigaciones CientíficasCentres de Recerca de Catalunya