School's Prof. John Peacock is joint recipient of Shaw Prize in Astronomy

Prof. John Peacock has been jointly awarded the Shaw Prize in Astronomy. He shares the award with Professors Daniel Eisenstein (Harvard University) and Shaun Cole (Durham University).

The 2014 Shaw Prize recognises the achievements of two large-scale sky surveys: the UK-Australian Two-degree Field Galaxy Redshift Survey (2dFGRS) and the USA-led Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). John Peacock was a co-leader of the 2dFGRS, which catalogued 220,000 galaxies between 1995 and 2002, a tenfold leap in the size of such studies.

For their contributions to the measurements of features in the large-scale structure of galaxies used to constrain the cosmological model including baryon acoustic oscillations and redshift-space distortions. Shaw Prize in Astronomy for 2014 citation

Sky surveys

The distribution of galaxies makes colossal patterns in space, hundreds of millions of light-years in extent. The form of this structure is set by the action of gravity over the entire history of the universe, and its detailed properties tell us much about the overall nature of the universe.

The characteristic size of these structures gives a natural standard ruler (the so-called "Baryon Acoustic Oscillation" scale) which allows us to measure the expansion history of the universe. The size of the velocities associated with the growing structure gives a test of Einstein's theory of gravity (measured via "redshift-space distortions"). These are two distinct applications that are possible with large surveys of the three-dimensional positions of galaxies.

The 2dFGRS was an incredibly successful project, made possible by many essential contributions from members of a big team. We all felt at the time that we were doing something revolutionary, and it's wonderful to see this work get the recognition it deserves. John Peacock, Professor of Cosmology, Institute for Astronomy, University of Edinburgh

The Shaw Prize

The Shaw Prize is an international award to honour individuals who are currently active in their respective fields and who have recently achieved distinguished and significant advances, who have made outstanding contributions in academic and scientific research or applications, or who in other domains have achieved excellence. The award is dedicated to furthering societal progress, enhancing quality of life, and enriching humanity's spiritual civilization.

Preference is given to individuals whose significant work was recently achieved and who are currently active in their respective fields.

The Shaw Prize consists of three annual awards: the Prize in Astronomy, the Prize in Life Science and Medicine, and the Prize in Mathematical Sciences. Each prize carries a monetary award of one million US dollars.

The Shaw Prize, established under the auspices of Mr Run Run Shaw in November 2002, is managed and administered by The Shaw Prize Foundation based in Hong Kong.