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Best Doctoral Thesis in Theoretical Astrophysics

Dr. Claudia Del P. Lagos

Claudia Lagos is a Chilean who gained an undergraduate degree in 2007, followed by a Master's in 2009, both at Universidad Católica de Chile. With three publications at the end of her master’s, Lagos was awarded a prestigious studentship jointly funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council and the Gemini Observatory to carry out a PhD at Durham University. Lagos completed her PhD at the Institute for Computational Cosmology in November 2012. She was awarded the Department of Physics Keith Nicholas Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement and a Springer Thesis Prize, awarded to the three best thesis in all physics each year. She recently took up a highly competitive fellowship at the European Souther n Observator y in Germany. She continues to play a leading role in the development of state-of-the-art models of galaxy formation.

Claudia Lagos' PhD thesis focused on the galaxy formation model, GALFORM, which can implement essentially all existing theoretical models of star formation. Her work overhauls the two key processes at the centre of how galaxies are made: the formation of stars and the regulation of star formation following the injection of energy into the interstellar medium. These calculations represent the first real advances in these areas in over a decade. Lagos' work allows the physical predictions of the galaxy formation model, such as the content of the interstellar medium, to be confronted directly by observations from new major telescopes, such as the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA).

The PhD thesis of Claudia Lagos was carried out at the Institute for Computational Cosmology at Durham University (UK) between October 2009 and September 2012, under the supervision of Prof. Carlton Baugh and Dr. Cedric Lacey.