2023 CAP-CRM Prize awarded to Yanqin Wu

The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) and the Centre de recherches mathématiques (CRM) are pleased to announce that the 2023 CAP-CRM Prize in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics is awarded to Yanqin Wu, University of Toronto, in recognition of her outstanding and impactful contributions to our understanding of the evolution of planets and planetary systems.

Yanqin Wu is a prolific, imaginative, and deep-thinking theoretical physicist whose work has revolutionized our understanding of how planets form and evolve. She provided the first complete description of how massive planets like Jupiter can form closer to their host star than any planets in the solar system, through dynamical oscillations induced by the tidal field of distant companions. She showed that evaporation driven by the intense stellar radiation field can strip close-in planets of their massive atmospheres, leaving behind bare cores, a process summarized by the aphorism “super-Earths are boiled-down mini-Neptunes.” She showed how to measure the masses of planets through the variations that they induce in the transit timing of other planets in the same system. She analyzed the long-term orbital evolution of planets in multi-planet systems and showed how secular chaos can rearrange planet orbits.

The study of planet formation is one of the most important and rapidly evolving topics in theoretical physics, driven by the discovery of thousands of extrasolar planets in the last quarter-century, and Wu is one of the leading contributors to this subject in Canada and the world.

Dr. Wu will be invited to give a plenary talk as part of the 2023 CAP Congress program, and to receive her medal at a Medallists’ Recognition Dinner in Fredericton, NB on Wednesday, June 21, 2023. The Awards Dinner is one of the featured events of the CAP Congress hosted by the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, NB, from June 19-23. Please refer to the Congress outline for the schedule of plenary talks by the CAP medal winners. If Dr. Wu is unable to attend Congress, the medal will be presented at an alternate mutually-agreed upon event or forwarded to her separately following Congress.

In Wu’s words: “It’s a great honour to be recognized by the biggest body of physicists in a country that has adopted me. It is also a recognition of our vibrant community of theoretical astrophysicists.”

The CAP-CRM Prize in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics

The objective of this award is to recognize research excellence in the fields of theoretical and mathematical physics. The annual CAP-CRM Prize in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics was first introduced in 1995, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the CAP.

Press release: Canadian Association of Physicists

Published On: 25 May 2023

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