National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

Subaru Telescope Scientist Wins 2021 ASJ Young Astronomer Award

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Dr. Kenneth Wong (Credit: NAOJ)

Dr. Kenneth Wong, a Project Research Fellow at the Subaru Telescope, has been selected to receive the 2021 ASJ Young Astronomer Award. The work recognized by this award was his “research in observational cosmology with strong gravitational lensing.”

Dr. Wong played a leading role in an international research team that pioneered a unique approach, observing gravitationally lensed quasars, to measure the expansion rate of the Universe. The derived expansion rate is closer to that of late-Universe measurements from type Ia supernovae, but larger than that obtained from observations of the early Universe. This study, which used an alternative approach to measure the Universe’s expansion rate, supports the discrepancy in the expansion rate measured from the late and early Universe which has challenged the standard cosmological model. This result has had a profound impact on cosmology and the wider field of astronomy, and has been followed by many related studies to spawn new trends in research.

Dr. Wong is also involved in the Hyper Suprime-Cam Subaru Strategic Program (HSC-SSP). He plays a leading role in this field as a co-chair of the HSC-SSP Strong Lensing Working Group and through other activities, including an investigation of how matter along the line of sight influences gravitational lensing observations.

“I am very honored to receive this award from the Astronomical Society of Japan,” says Dr. Wong. “My research has been made possible by the support of the Japanese astronomical community and the resources that have been available to me here. I am fortunate to have interacted and collaborated with a number of talented researchers both in Japan and internationally, and to have access to key facilities such as the Subaru Telescope. I look forward to continuing these collaborations into the future and to working on exciting projects such as the HSC-SSP.”

The ASJ Young Astronomer Award, presented by the Astronomical Society of Japan (ASJ), is to commend astronomers under the age of 36 who have made significant achievements in astronomy. The lecture event commemorating this year’s prize was held online on March 5, 2022, during the 2022 Annual Spring Meeting of the ASJ.

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