UA Alum and Professor of astronomy at the University of Chile, Mario Hamuy Wackenhut, will become the head of the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) in Chile. This honor was announced by President Michelle Bachelet, accompanied by the Minister of Education, Adriana Delpiano, in La Moneda in March 2016.
The mission of CONICYT in Chile is to advance the training of human capital by promoting, developing, and disseminating scientific and technological research, in line with the National Innovation Strategy. The aim is to contribute to Chile's economic, social, and cultural development.
CONICYT Provides resources for competitive funding calls; creates opportunities for coordination and networking, designs and implements strategies for public awareness activities, promotes better access to scientific and technological information and supports the establishment of a regulatory framework for the development of science, technology and innovation.
Hamuy studied physics at the University of Chile, and then pursued a Ph.D. in astronomy at the University of Arizona and later became a professor in the Department of Astronomy in 2011. Throughout his career, he made 151 publications, which includes a co-authorship of five articles published in the journal “Nature.” The impact of his research worldwide is reflected in the high number of citations from his papers.
One of Hamuy’s most important contributions was when he received a Nobel Prize in Physics in the Calan/Tololo project for his discovery of the accelerating universe and his findings of a new component of dark energy that constitutes 70 percent of all energy in the universe.
His interest in astrophysics also led him to apply for state funds to projects emerged in the Center for Astrophysics (2007-2012), the Millennium Nucleus Supernova (2008-2010) and the Millennium Institute of Astrophysics (2013 -2022), among others.
The UA and CONICYT have an extensive history. The UA’s Latin American Summer Research Program was designed as part of an institutional collaboration between the UA and CONICYT Chile. Dr. Maria Teresa Velez, former associate dean of the Graduate College, negotiated this initiative with CONICYT Chile in 2011. Since then, the program has been under the administration of the Office of Latin American Partnership Initiatives (OLAPI) coordinated by Dr. Nadia Alvarez Mexia. OLAPI is now joining Global Initiatives to continue offering this academic experience to Latin American students including CONICYT scholars.