You are currently viewing International Women’s Day 2023: Ilona Riipinen wins the Göran Gustafsson Prize in Physics
Professor Ilona Riipinen. Photo: Markus Marcetic
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Ilona Riipinen,  Professor at Stockholm University and FORCeS Project Coordinator, has been awarded the Göran Gustafsson Prize in Physics 2023 “for her pioneering research on atmospheric aerosol particles and their impact on clouds, climate, and human health.” 

Each cubic centimeter of air contains thousands of liquid or solid aerosol particles. The particles are often invisible to the naked eye but can impair air quality and affect our health. They also have an impact on climate. But how big an impact?

Ilona Riipinen wants to bring clarity to the issue. Her work focuses on atmospheric physics and, in particular, how aerosol particles are formed and what role they play in cloud formation. Aerosols and clouds are among the biggest uncertainties in climate models today.

By combining laboratory experiments in the CLOUD chamber at CERN, Switzerland, with field measurements and atmospheric simulation models developed at the Department of Environmental Science, her research group now hopes to contribute to both improved climate calculations and air quality models. Knowledge that can hopefully also lead to a better climate and environmental policies.

The CLOUD experiment. Image courtesy of CERN

“For me, it means a lot that I receive the Göran Gustafsson Prize in Physics because I have always seen myself as a physicist at heart, even though my work is interdisciplinary. It sends an important message that Physics can be applied to environmental issues. Physics is a tool that can be used to understand how our future on this planet will look like,” says Riipinen.

Riipinen is only the 8th woman to receive the Göran Gustafsson Prize in Physics in its 32-year history.

About the Göran Gustafsson Prize

The Göran Gustafsson Foundation for Research in Natural Sciences and Medicine has awarded large grants to researchers working in Sweden in the fields of mathematics, physics, chemistry, molecular biology and medicine since 1991.

This year, the prize sum has increased to six million SEK (€600.000) for each prize recipient, which 300.000SEK  (€30.000) is a personal prize and the rest is a research grant spread over three years. The money is awarded to younger researchers (no more than 45 years old) active in Sweden who work in medicine, molecular biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. The research work of this year’s prize winners ranges from how to manufacture new materials using nanocrystals to how genetic differences shape us as humans.

More about Göran Gustafsson and the Göran Gustafsson Foundations