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Black hole scientists win Swedish prize

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16:33 CET+01:00
An American and two Russian researchers have earned a major Swedish scientific award for their work on black holes and the early universe, the Royal Swedish Academy of Science announced Thursday.

Maxim Kontsevich and Edward Witten captured the mathematics part of this year's Crafoord Prize "for their important contributions to mathematics inspired by modern theoretical physics," the academy said in a statement.

Kontsevich, a Russia at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques near Paris, and Witten, an American at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princton, New Jersey, used physics to develop ground-breaking mathematics to study geometrical objects.

Their research can also be used to study the fundamental laws of nature among other areas, the institute said.

The astronomy part of the award went to Russian astrophysicist Rashid Alievich Sunyaev "for his decisive contributions to high energy astrophysics and cosmology," including in the field of black holes and neutron stars, formed out of the collapsed remains of massive stars.

The three laureates will share a $500,000 award, with half going to Sunyaev and the rest split between the other two.

First awarded in 1982, the Crafoord prize aims to promote basic research in mathematics, astronomy and several other scientific research areas, including for rheumatoid arthritis.

The academy, which also hands out the Nobel prizes for chemistry, physics and economics, says the disciplines it covers for the Crafoord are chosen to complement those awarded for the Nobel.

The awards ceremony for the three scientists is set for April 23rd.

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