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ICE researcher Nanda Rea awarded Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy

03 Sept 2021

ICE researcher Nanda Rea awarded Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy.

The astrophysicist Nanda Rea from the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE-CSIC) was honoured yesterday at a ceremony at the Palau Robert in Barcelona, in which she received the insignia of Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy.

This award is awarded by the President of the Italian Republic, on the proposal of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in order to honour those who have acquired special merit in the promotion of friendly relations and collaboration between Italy and other countries, and the promotion of ties with Italy.

Born in Rome, Dr. Rea has a degree in Physics and a PhD in Astrophysics from the Tor Vergata University of Rome. She is a tenured scientist at Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) –at the Institute of Space Sciences (ICE-CSIC)–  since 2016, and member of the Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC).

Her research focuses on the study of magnetars: neutron stars with high speed of rotation and extremely intense magnetic fields. Over the last years, she has contributed to connecting research in Italy and Spain by coordinating and participating in workshops and conferences. Besides other international distinctions, in Spain she received the Young Research Talent Award by the Fundació Catalana per a la Recerca i la Innovació (FCRi), and the Banco Sabadell Foundation Award for Sciences and Engineering. The Fundación Real Academia de Ciencias de España (FRACE) also awarded her the Prize for Young Female Scientific Talent (Physics and Chemistry category).

“I’m honoured that that my work as an Italian researcher has been recognised outside of Italy”, says Rea. The Order of the Star of Italy was established by Law Nº 13 on February 3rd, 2011, which updated the name, purpose and categories of the previous Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity. The new name of the Order of the Star of Italy responds to the changes since World War II, when the Order was founded to honour Italians abroad or foreigners who had helped in the reconstruction of Italy.

A research career on neutron stars

In 2018, Dr. Rea received a H2020 ERC Consolidator Grant, awarded by the European Research Council (ERC), for the Magnesia project, which will develop a sound magnetar census via an innovative approach that will build the first pulsar population synthesis model able to cope with constraints from multi-band observations, and taking into account 3D magnetic field evolution models and flaring rates for neutron stars.

She is also the principal investigator (PI) of the COST action “Pharos”, whose aim is to unravel the challenges of physics involved in neutron stars. Nanda Rea is member of the science study team of ATHENA (Advanced Telescope for High-Energy Astrophysics), an X-ray mission selected by the European Space Agency (ESA), within its Cosmic Vision Program (2015-2025) to address the Hot and Energetic Universe scientific theme.

In 2014, she received the prestigious Zeldovich Medal, awarded by the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) and the Russian Academy of Sciences, for her discovery of the first magnetar with a weak magnetic field, followed in 2015 by the Young Scientist Award from the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP).

In addition to her remarkable career, Nanda Rea collaborates in the promotion of ties with the research field in Italy. In April this year, Dr. Rea coordinated, along with the Italian Consulate and the Institute of Italian Culture in Barcelona, a conference on the occasion of the Italian Research Day in the World, aimed at highlighting Italian scientific talent and promoting scientific innovation by Italian artists in the musical field

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Institute of Space Sciences (ICE-CSIC) and Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC)