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2011 Brouwer Award Winner - Lia Athanassoula

Lia Athanassoula is distinguished for her perceptive work in numerical dynamics of disk galaxies. With Sellwood in 1986, she demonstrated how the gravitational field of the dark halo and the velocity dispersion of the disk can both contribute to the stability of the disk. Her studies of angular momentum transport between galactic bars and dark halos showed how angular momentum transport can affect the strength, shape and pattern speed of the bar: the dark halo can make a bar become more prominent, instead of simply stabilizing the disk against bar formation as was previously believed. Her pioneering papers (1992ff) on gas flows and shock structures in galactic bars, and the observable consequences made her the leading authority on this subject. Her more recent work on the formation of boxy and peanut-shaped bulges via bar formation is particularly useful because of its direct application to the large amount of new observational data on the kinematics of the Galactic bulge and boxy bulges in external systems. Her institute in Marseille is a leading center for research and postdoctoral training in galactic dynamics.

(Citation by Ken Freeman)