IA researcher awarded the Bronstein Prize for her work into the quantum nature of gravity
2017 July 07

Mercedes MartÝn-BenitoMap of the cosmic background radiation obtained with the Planck mission. The precision of the most recent measurements of this microwave background already enables the testing of agreements of theoretical models of quantum gravity with the observations. Credits: European Space Agency and Planck Collaboration
In 2017, the Bronstein Prize was awarded to Mercedes Martín-Benito, a researcher of Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA1) and Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa (FCUL). The Bronstein Prize, the most important recognition given to a postdoctoral researcher working on a topic related to the theory of Loop Quantum Gravity, was announced on the 5th of July, during the Loops'17 conference, held in Warsaw, Poland.

Loop Quantum Gravity is a theory attempting to reconcile the two main theories of physics, quantum field theory and relativity. Seeking to describe the quantum nature of gravity, the scientific community in this domain is working on the understanding of space-time as emerging from a discrete or quantised geometry.

Mercedes Martín-Benito's work lies within a subfield named Loop Quantum Cosmology, which notably seeks to study the effects of quantum fluctuations of space-time geometry in the physics of the early Universe, when quantum effects and gravity both played a major role.

Mercedes Martín-Benito said: “The Bronstein Prize will serve to consolidate me even more as one of the world-wide experts in Loop Quantum Cosmology, and also to give more visibility to my research.”

Her research has served to better establish the formulation of homogeneous Loop Quantum Cosmology and to develop a hybrid approach that allows the incorporation of quantisation of inhomogeneities into the framework. Martín-Benito is continuing this work at IA, with the aim of analysing its physical predictions and comparing them with observations.

  1. The Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences – IA) is the largest Portuguese research unit in space sciences and integrates researchers from the University of Lisbon and the University of Porto. The institute encompasses most of the field’s national scientific output and it was evaluated as Excellent in the last evaluation from the European Science Foundation (ESF). IA’s activity is funded by national and international funds, including Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (UID/FIS/04434/2013), POPH/FSE and FEDER through COMPETE 2020.

Science Communication Group

Instituto de Astrof├şsica e Ci├¬ncias do Espa├žo Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Funda├ž├úo para a Ci├¬ncia e a Tecnologia