First Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award Recipient Named

© BBVA Foundation, David Ausserhofer

Catherine Heymans, a Scottish astrophysicist working at the University of Edinburgh, wins the first ever Max Planck-Humboldt Research Award. The EUR 1.5 million award is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and awarded by the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Noted in the jury’s rationale for Heymans’ selection was her research on Dark Energy, a largely misunderstood substance that makes up 3/4 of the universe and causes it to expand at an ever-increasing rate.

Besides Heymans, medals also went to University of Texas at Austin’s Sam Payne and Harvard’s Robert Wood. Payne’s research is on Tropical Geometry, which combines Algebraic Geometry and Abstract Algebra. Wood’s research in Soft Robotics aids robots in moving more fluidly, allowing better interaction with machines and humans.

Further details available at