Gamma-rays in an active galactic nuclei

Researcher in physics awarded Crafoord grant for studies of active galactic nuclei

During a ceremony at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences today 26 May, Yvonne Becherini, Senior Lecturer in Physics at Linnaeus University, will be awarded one of this year’s Crafoord grants in astronomy.

An active galaxy has a super-massive black hole at its centre, which is able to attract matter from the surrounding disk through the gravitational force. This process also produces a bipolar jet coming out from the black hole.

– We still do not know how this works, but the process carries a large amount of energy. We can thus study what happens in the far Universe through the study of the very-high-energy photon emission, gamma-rays, that we can detect on Earth. Through this we can gain more knowledge of the Universe and its structure.

Yvonne Becherini is Senior Lecturer in Physics at Linnaeus University and will receive one of this year's Crafoord grants in astronomy in Stockholm today. She is awarded the grant for her research within extra-galactic astronomy and astrophysics, i.e. studies of other galaxies than our own Milky Way. In particular, Yvonne is recognised for her studies of and discoveries in Active Galactic Nuclei, by means of data from the H.E.S.S. observatory in Namibia.

The grant is esteemed by Yvonne and her research group in Astroparticle Physics, and she praises the Crafoord Foundation's work on supporting new research groups and newer universities.

– I'm honoured and grateful to receive this stipend from the Crafoord Foundation and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The Foundation is, so far, the only big foundation or funding agency which bets on this subject being developed by me and my research group at Linnaeus University.

The grant will be used by Yvonne to pay the running costs for the membership of her and her group in the H.E.S.S. observatory. By doing this, they will be able to continue accessing the H.E.S.S. data and do even more exciting extra-galactic science.

The Crafoord grants, which are awarded researchers in astronomy and mathematics this year, are handed out by His Royal Highness the King of Sweden during a ceremony at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Thursday 26 May, in connection with the Crafoord Prize in the same subjects being awarded to the researchers Yakov Eliashberg, Roy Kerr and Robert Blandford.

– This will be the first time I meet the King, says Yvonne. I look forward to meet him, maybe I will also get the opportunity to tell him what we do!

About the Crafoord prizes

The Crafoord Prize and the Crafoord grants have been awarded since 1982 from a donation by Anna-Greta and Holger Crafoord. Holger Crafoord founded the Gambro company and is known for commercializing the artificial kidney. The prizes are to reward and promote research in areas not embraced by the Nobel Prize – astronomy, biosciences, geosciences, mathematics, and research in the polyarthritis disease that Holger Crafoord himself suffered from – and is administered by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien).

More information

The Astroparticle Physics research group
About the Crafoord prizes
Videos of active galactic nuclei