Astronomical advances in fundamental physics
Kendrick Smith was one of three academics awarded the New Horizons in Physics Prize “for the development of novel techniques to extract fundamental physics from astronomical data.” Dr. Smith holds the Daniel Family P. James E. Peebles Chair in Theoretical Physics at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo.
As a “data-oriented” cosmologist, Dr. Smith mixes theoretical physics, phenomenology, computational physics, statistics and data analysis. He has been part of several large experiments, including on cosmic microwave background (CMB) – sometimes called the oldest light in the universe. Indeed, Dr. Smith is best known for data analysis and phenomenology that led to the first detection of gravitational lensing in CMB satellites. More recently, he joined the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment, a new experiment in British Columbia that aims to measure the radio sky with more sensitivity than previous all-sky surveys.
Following a PhD in pure mathematics at the University of Michigan in 2000, Dr. Smith pursued a career as a software developer. However, his hobby of reading physics textbooks led to a second PhD in early universe cosmology from the University of Chicago in 2007. Dr. Smith pursued postdoctoral work at the University of Cambridge and Princeton University before joining the faculty of the Perimeter Institute.
Among previous awards, Dr. Smith was named a fellow in the CIFAR program Gravity & the Extreme Universe in 2019. As a member of Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe Science Team, he was also co-awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics in 2018 and the Gruber Cosmology Prize in 2012.
*The New Horizons in Physics Prize is awarded by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation to promising junior researchers who have already produced important work. Each year, the foundation awards up to three prizes of $100,000. The prize is funded by a grant from the Milner Foundation