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Seattle WA – January 8, 2019 (8:10 AM PST) – The winners of the 2018 Buchalter Cosmology Prize were announced today at the 233rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle, Washington. The annual prize, created by Dr. Ari Buchalter in 2014, seeks to reward new ideas or discoveries that have the potential to produce a breakthrough advance in our understanding of the origin, structure, and evolution of the universe.

The $10,000 First Prize was awarded to Dr. José Ramón Espinosa of The Institut de Física d’Altes Energies (IFAE) and the Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), Dr. Davide Racco of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and Dr. Antonio Riotto of the University of Geneva, for their work entitled “A Cosmological Signature of the Standard Model Higgs Vacuum Instability: Primordial Black Holes as Dark Matter” published in Physical Review Letters and recognized by the judging panel as “a fascinating and novel approach putting forth an exotic option for dark matter, arising from primordial black holes produced from large-scale instability in the Higgs potential during inflation, that does not require new particles beyond the Standard Model.” arXiv:1710.11196

The $5,000 Second Prize was awarded to Dr. Douglas Edmonds of The Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Duncan Farrah of the University of Hawaii, Dr. Djordje Minic of Virginia Tech, Dr. Y. Jack Ng of the University of North Carolina, and Dr. Tatsu Takeuchi of Virginia Tech, for their work entitled “Modified Dark Matter: Relating Dark Energy, Dark Matter and Baryonic Matter” recognized by the judging panel as “an imaginative and courageous paper that proposes new ideas to address long unresolved fundamental questions in cosmology, proposing a form of modified dark matter that gives rise to a new MOND formulation accounting for observations at both galaxy and cluster scales.” arXiv:1709.04388

The $2,500 Third Prize was awarded to Dr. Jonathan Braden of the University of Toronto, Dr. Matthew C. Johnson of York University and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Dr. Hiranya V. Peiris of University College London and Stockholm University, Dr. Andrew Pontzen of University College London, and Dr. Silke Weinfurtner of the University of Nottingham, for their work entitled “A New Semiclassical Picture of Vacuum Decay” recognized by the judging panel as “a fresh and novel perspective on vacuum decay, taking a real-time stochastic approach populating the vacuum with random fluctuations that are classically evolved to obtain results that align with standard approaches, opening up the possibility of more deeply understanding the tunneling process in field theory, with numerous potential applications.” arXiv:1806.06069

Dr. Buchalter, a former astrophysicist turned business entrepreneur, created the prize based on his own research and experience in cosmology, and the belief that fundamental new discoveries in cosmology still lie ahead, but may require challenging and breaking some paradigms accepted in the field today. “The 2018 prize winners are innovative works putting forth new ideas that help evolve our understanding of the universe,” said Dr. Buchalter.

The prestigious judging panel for the prize is comprised of leading theoretical physicists noted for their work in cosmology, including Dr. Ruth Gregory of Durham University, Dr. Lee Smolin of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, and Dr. Mark Trodden of the University of Pennsylvania.

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