Mario Hamuy

Mario Hamuy

Fellow: Awarded 2011

Field of Study: Physical Science

Competition: Latin America & Caribbean


Mario Hamuy is a Chilean astronomer and Full Professor at the Astronomy Department of Universidad de Chile. He is well known for his research on all classes of supernovae, especially in the use of Type Ia and Type II supernovae as distance indicators and the measurement of fundamental cosmological parameters.

Hamuy obtained his Ph.D. in Astronomy at The University of Arizona, U.S. (2001) and a M.Sc. in Physics at Universidad de Chile (1984). His main research areas are Globular clusters and Stellar populations, Novae and Supernovae, Galaxies and stellar synthesis, Cosmology, Gamma-ray Bursts, and photometric and spectrophotometric calibrations of standard stars.

In 1989, in collaboration with José Maza, Mark M. Phillips, and Nicholas Suntzeff, he began the Calán/Tololo Supernova Survey, a pioneering work that led to the most precise calibration of the Type Ia supernova luminosities at the time and to the establishment of key tools to measure distances with a precision never reached before. The Calan/Tololo work yielded a precise measurements of the Hubble Constant and provided half of the data that led to the discovery of the acceleration of the Universe in 1998, the latter indicating the presence of a dark energy or cosmological constant dominating the mass/energy budget of the Universe.

Hamuy has obtained other important international awards, such as The Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded by NASA (2001-2004), and the Carnegie Observatories Fellowship (2004-2005).

Hamuy has coauthored more than 100 refereed papers. He is the most cited Chilean astronomer, with more than 8,300 citations to his work. Finally, he is co-author of the book Supernovas: el explosivo final de una estrella (i.e., Supernovae: the explosive end of a star), text written in collaboration with José Maza, Chilean National Sciences Prize, 1999.

He has served on many scientific committees, most notably the Scientific Council of the Fondecyt Program since 2009, which he chairs since 2011.