The Peter Gruber Cosmology Prize 2003

Rashid Alievich Sunyaev has conducted pioneering studies on the nature of the cosmic microwave background and its interaction with intervening matter.

Hailing from the former Asian Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan, Sunyaev became one of the most important and prolific members of the Moscow group that pioneered Relativistic Astrophysics. Together with its illustrious leader Zel'dovich, he studied the relic radiation from the Big Bang leading to early tests of cosmological models that are still valid and have provided impetus to one of the most active areas of observational cosmology.

Through continuing collaborations around the globe, Sunyaev remains among the most effective scientific bridges between East and West.

Rashid Alievich Sunyaev

Sunyaev's contributions have been wide-ranging. He co-authored a series of landmark papers that laid the foundations for understanding fluct uations in microwave background radiation and thus advanced ongoing studies about the conditions in the early universe. Together with Yakov B. Zel'dovich, he was the first to describe the apparent cooling of radiation as it passes through hot gas, a process now known as the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect.

In another collaboration in the early 1970s, with Nikolai Ivanovich Shakura, he helped establish the principles governing current studies of key phenomena of basic nuclei in the Milky Way. More recently, Sunyvaev led the team that built and operated the Kvant X-ray observatory for the MIR space station and the GRANAT orbiting X-ray observatory. He continues to be a leader in the area of X-ray astronomy.

Born in 1943 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Sunyaev was educated at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and Moscow University. He worked at the Institute of Applied Mathematics in the Soviet Union and was head of the High Energy Astrophysics Department at the Space Research Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences. Since 1996, he has been a director of the Max-Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany. He also maintains affiliation with the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. He is a popular speaker on the international circuit and is recognized as an inspiring teacher.

More information about the Cosmology Prize can be found here .


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