On Wednesday the 23rd of March 2017, Chilean astronomer María Teresa Ruiz received the award that recognises her contribution to scientific advancement in Chile. The ceremony that is held once a year in Paris awards women from 5 mega regions in the world (Africa and the Arab States, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America).
Currently, María Teresa Ruiz is the director of the Centre for Excellence in Astrophysics and Associated Technologies (CATA), at the same time, she is also the President of the Chilean Academy of Science, being the first woman to hold this position. Ruiz was also the first woman in history to graduate with a PhD in Astrophysics from Princeton University. Today, she is also a Professor at the Astronomy Department of the Faculty of Physics and Mathematics at Universidad de Chile.
The astronomer is the third Chilean to receive the award. In 2007, the same recognition went to Ligia Gargallo, a Chemistry graduate from Universidad de Concepción with PhDs from Université catholique de Louvain and Université de Liège, both located in Belgium. In 1998, the biologist from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Gloria Montenegro Rizzardini was the first Latin American to receive the award.
The winners are nominated by the scientific communities of their respective zones to be later evaluated by an international jury of 12 renowned scientists.
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