Professor Alessandra Buonanno elected member of the Leopoldina

The election is a special honor and is regarded as one of the highest scientific accolades in the German-speaking world

April 26, 2021

In recognition of her scientific achievements, Alessandra Buonanno, director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, has been elected member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Buonanno will participate in the Physics Section of the Academy.

“I am truly honored by this recognition, which came as a complete surprise,” says Alessandra Buonanno, head of the department “Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity” at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Potsdam. “The Leopoldina is one of the oldest science academies in the world and I am delighted to become a member of this distinguished scholarly society and to be given the opportunity to contribute to its activities.”

Alessandra Buonanno studied theoretical physics in Pisa, and held faculty positions in Paris and at the University of Maryland, where she became full professor in 2010. She is a leading theorist in the field of gravitational-wave physics, and a Principal Investigator of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. Her work on waveform modeling has been essential in the detection of gravitational waves from binary systems composed of black holes and/or neutron stars, and the physical interpretation of the signals. For her contributions to LIGO and Virgo discoveries, she was awarded several prizes, including the 2018 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz prize – the most prestigious research prize in Germany – and the 2021 Galileo Galilei Medal. She is a Fellow of the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation, and of the American Physical Society. She holds a research professorship at the University of Maryland, and honorary professorships at the Humboldt University in Berlin, and the University of Potsdam.

The Leopoldina originated in 1652 as a classical scholarly society and now has 1,600 members from almost all branches of science. In 2008, the Leopoldina was appointed as German National Academy of Sciences and, in this capacity, was invested with two major objectives: representing the German scientific community internationally, and providing policymakers and the public with science-based advice. It promotes a scientifically enlightened society and the responsible application of scientific insight and is an advocate of human rights. The Leopoldina presents its policy recommendations in a scientifically qualified, independent, transparent and prospective manner, ever mindful of the standards and consequences of science.

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