University of Giessen (Germany) Stellar winds and black holes: X-ray prize for Dr. Victoria Grinberg

Award ceremony at the Academic Ceremony of the Justus Liebig University Giessen on 25 November 2022 – Groundbreaking research in X-ray astronomy – X-ray lecture on the eve of the ceremony

This year’s renowned X-ray Prize of the Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU) goes to astrophysicist and science communicator Dr. Victoria Grinberg for her groundbreaking research in X-ray astronomy. The prize, endowed with 15,000 euros, will be awarded to the junior research group leader of the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen and science communicator at ESA on Friday, 25 November 2022, as part of the JLU Academic Ceremony. Pfeiffer Vacuum and the Ludwig Schunk Foundation jointly donate the prize money of 15,000 euros. In memory of Nobel laureate Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, who was a professor in Giessen from 1879 to 1888, JLU has been awarding the prize since 1960.
The JLU review committee described Dr. Victoria Grinberg as an “outstanding young scientist in the field of X-ray astronomy with enormous development potential“. Prof. Dr. Markus Thoma from JLU’s Institute of Physics I added on behalf of the committee: “She has already developed an internationally visible leadership role in the field of winds of massive stars.”
Dr. Grinberg studied physics at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and received his doctorate in 2013 from the Dr. Karl Remeis Observatory of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. In her dissertation she dealt with black holes and since then has concentrated on the study of stellar winds. So-called X-ray binaries play a major role here: in these, matter is transferred from a massive star by stellar winds to a compact star – for example a black hole – in whose accretion disk (a rotating disk that transports matter towards the center) the X-rays are generated.
Dr. Grinberg has studied the variability of these X-ray sources using observational data from X-ray satellites and obtained interesting results on stellar winds, which are of great importance for the evolution of massive stars and X-ray binaries. With the help of numerical models, she has shown that the variability properties open up access to the structure of the winds. In addition, Ms. Grinberg succeeded in studying the ionization structure of the winds using X-ray spectroscopy.
This groundbreaking research in X-ray astronomy was carried out by Ms. Grinberg and her research group under her leadership and has already been published in 63 peer-reviewed publications. For her research she was awarded a Margarete von Wrangell habilitation scholarship. In addition to its excellent scientific achievements, it was also able to distinguish itself in the fields of teaching and science communication. In addition to supervising several theses and regular lectures, she has already organized 12 workshops and conferences. She has also given numerous public lectures and contributed to the visibility of female scientists in the field of astronomy and astrophysics in German-speaking countries on Twitter under the hashtag #Astrophysikerinnen.
JLU traditionally gives Röntgen award winners the opportunity to present their field of research at a public lecture event on the eve of the Academic Ceremony. The German-language X-ray lecture entitled “Sternwinde im Röntgengerät” will take place on Thursday, 24 November 2022, 6 pm, in presence at Heinrich-Buff-Ring 14, lecture hall II.
Since last year, the Röntgen Prize has also been available to “touch”: JLU and the donors have had a miniature of the well-known Giessen X-ray monument made.