Architects of some of the successes that best reflect the progress of knowledge in these past decades, the winners in the 9th edition of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards collected their awards this evening in Madrid’s Marqués de Salamanca Palace. “From predicting the onset of climate change to designing the most sophisticated artificial intelligence or the most precise techniques for genome editing, by way of modeling the impact of human aggressions on our planet, the Frontiers Awards reflect the bounty of science in all its diversity,” in the words of BBVA Foundation President Francisco González.
This evening, Madrid’s Teatro Real played host to the 9th BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards Concert, a prelude to the formal ceremony that will take place tomorrow at 19:00 in the Marqués de Salamanca Palace, Madrid headquarters of the BBVA Foundation.
The Universe is growing or, as cosmologists would say, expanding. This has been a known fact for almost one hundred years. As if this expansion was not surprising enough, however, in the 1990s it was found to be gaining speed. The Universe, in other words, is getting larger at an ever faster rate. Catherine Heymans heard about this as a recent astrophysics graduate. She had asked her professor what he thought was “the most challenging problem in the world.” And he replied without hesitation: “To discover why the Universe’s expansion is accelerating.” Now, twenty years later, she co-leads one of the largest international observation programs attempting to do just that.
The answer is hiding in what has come to be known as “the dark side of the Universe,” also the title of the talk Heymans will give on Monday, May 8 in the BBVA Foundation Madrid, as part of the Science of the Cosmos. Science in the Cosmos lecture series. The cosmologist, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom), will explain the different ways scientists are probing this dark Universe, its link to the accelerated expansion conundrum, and why she is convinced that “we will need some new physics that will forever change our cosmic view.”
“The European Southern Observatory (ESO) now leads the strongest ground-based astronomy program in the world, which I am honored to have contributed to over the last decade,” affirms Tim de Zeeuw, the organization’s Director General. Among the milestones reached under his leadership, we can cite the launch of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), the biggest radio telescope currently in operation, and the start of construction work on the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), both in Chile. His tenure, furthermore, has coincided with two of the most exciting astronomical discoveries of recent times: Proxima b, the potentially habitable planet closest to Earth; and TRAPPIST-1, a system of seven Earth-size planets not far from our own Solar System which may have the right conditions for life. De Zeeuw, who in September this year will be succeeded in the post by Spain’s Xavier Barcons, will describe his experience of these events on Tuesday March 4 at a talk in the BBVA Foundation Madrid titled “In Search of Our Cosmic Origins with the World’s Most Advanced Telescopes at the European Southern Observatory.”
Beginning April 4, the Museo del Prado, with the exclusive support of Fundación BBVA, offers to the public the exceptional opportunity of enjoying more than two hundred works of art from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library founded to promote the art and culture of the Hispanic world in The United States.