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Ludwig Biermann Award 2020

Paola Pinilla is being honoured with the 2020 Ludwig Biermann Award for her contributions to the understanding of the evolution of small solid particles in gas disks around young stars.
Ludwig Biermann Award 2020

Dr. Paola Pinilla (Photo: Artur Godlinski)

 

With her physical concepts and numerical simulations, Paola Pinilla made significant contributions to the understanding of the evolution of small solid particles in gas disks around young stars. She predicted the importance of hydrodynamic "dust traps" that prevent millimetre-sized dust particles from falling towards the central star, thus making them available as building material for planets in the longer term.

Her studies focus on the growth behaviour and dynamics of these particles in a turbulent medium. Paola Pinilla showed that the fundamental relationship between stellar mass and dust disk mass found by observers can only be explained if there are pressure bumps in these disks. This relationship has direct relevance to the mass of planets, as they form around stars.

Paola Pinilla completed her PhD at the University of Heidelberg in 2013 and then became a post-doctoral researcher at Leiden Observatory. With a prestigious NASA Hubble fellowship, she continued her studies at Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona, and in 2018 she received the renowned Sofja Kovalevskaja Award from the Humboldt Foundation, with which she built up her own research group at the MPIA in Heidelberg.