This year's $500,000 Gruber Prize in Cosmology has been awarded to Vyacheslav Mukhanov, a physics professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat in Munich, and Alexei Starobinsky, a research scientist at the Landau Institute for Theoretical Physics in Moscow, the Gruber Foundation website reported Wednesday.
The prize was awarded for their "formative contributions to inflationary theory, an essential component for understanding the evolution and structure of the universe," the foundation said.
The prize citation credits Starobinsky and Mukhanov "with a profound contribution to inflationary cosmology and the theory of the inflationary perturbations of the metric of spacetime.
"This theory, explaining the quantum origin of the structure of our universe, is one of the most spectacular manifestations of the laws of quantum mechanics on cosmologically large scales," the citation says.
The Gruber International Prize Program, administered by Yale University, was created to recognize excellence in science by highlighting fields "with potential to create a better world" including cosmology, genetics, and neuroscience.
The Gruber Foundation also honors and encourages educational excellence in the fields of justice and women's rights.
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