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Greek Physicist Awarded for Contributions to Subatomic Physics

Greek physicist, Asimina Arvanitaki, was awarded the 2022 CAP-TRIUMF Vogt Medal for Contributions to Subatomic Physics
Greek physicist, Asimina Arvanitaki, was awarded the 2022 CAP-TRIUMF Vogt Medal for Contributions to Subatomic Physics. Credit: Perimeter Institute

Greek physicist, Asimina Arvanitaki, has been awarded the 2022 CAP-TRIUMF Vogt Medal for her innovative experiments and contributions to subatomic physics.

Arvanitaki is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Aristarchus Chair in Theoretical Physics at Canada’s Perimeter Institute. The Perimeter Institute was founded in 1999 and is considered to be the largest theoretic physics research center in the world.

Arvanitaki works on the creation of small and precise experiments to test the validity of major theories. Her research has helped to increase the scope and accuracy of particle physics models.

Greek physicist wins award

Arvanitaki was presented with the award by the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) and the TRIUMF particle accelerator center.

She was granted the 2022 Vogt Medal in recognition of her “innovative contributions to a number of areas of fundamental physics and in particular for identifying experiments that could test the underlying physics.”

According to the Perimeter institute, the Greek physicist is responsible for “devising small-scale—but precise—experiments that scrutinize the limits of major theories.”

Arvanitaki’s experiments have been broad in scope. Quite a lot of her work concerns the examination of axions. Axions are hypothetical elementary particles. If they exist, they might act as a possible component of dark matter.

Recently, the Greek scientist devised a method of detecting the presence of axions using a resonant mass detector. Resonant mass detectors have been available to scientists since the 1960s, but Avanitaki found an innovative new use for this tool.

The Greek physicist has also suggested that nuclear magnetic resonance might allow researchers to observe the influence of axions. The ongoing ARIADNE collaborative project was thus established for this reason.

“Asimina is a trailblazer,” said Robert Myers, the Perimeter Institute director. “Her work developing new ways to detect fundamental particles is opening up exciting frontiers and inspiring the next generation of particle physicists. This is a well-deserved honor.”

Asimina Arvanitaki

Arvanitaki, who is the first Greek woman to hold the Aristarchos research chair at the Perimeter Institute in Canada, has also won several other awards. For example, she has been honored with the International Sciacca Award in Physics and with the New Horizons Prize in 2017.

During an interview with LIFO, the Greek physicist spoke candidly about her upbringing in the Peloponnese in Greece.

“I grew up in rural Messinia as part of a loving family of five,” Arvanitaki said. “My parents were teachers, my father a mathematician, and my mother a philologist. So I had access to all kinds of great books, even from classes that were more advanced than mine. I have many fond memories from my childhood.”

Of her recent award, the Greek physicist commented, “I am extremely humbled to have received this award. It’s always special to be recognized by your scientific peers, and I would like to thank both the Canadian Association of Physicists and TRIUMF from the bottom of my heart.”

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