Awards & Prizes

DATE2023.08.30 #Awards & Prizes

Ms. Mayu Tominaga has received the 18th L'ORÉAL-UNESCO For Women in Science Japan Fellowship Award


Ms. Mayu Tominaga


Ms. Mayu Tominaga, a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Astronomy, was selected as a winner of the 18th L'ORÉAL-UNESCO For Women in Science Japan Fellowship Awards, which is based on the philosophy that "the world needs science and science needs women."

JAXA's LiteBIRD project aims to conduct precise observations of the cosmic microwave background radiation to detect evidence of the “cosmic inflation,” the primary theory explaining the birth of the universe. Ms. Tominaga investigated the influence of cosmic-ray noise and proposed a most effective onboard data processing algorithm, greatly contributing to the implementation of the project. XRISM is JAXA’s X-ray satellite that has the highest spectral resolution and thus can track the diffusion of chemical elements in the universe. Ms. Tominaga not only made detailed observational simulations and proposed optimal observational plans but also proactively participated in the ground tests, significantly contributing to the XRISM project as well. Furthermore, her analysis of the transient source discovered in January 2019 by MAXI, JAXA’s all-sky X-ray monitor mounted on the International Space Station, revealed that the new X-ray source is a black hole binary with relatively large black hole mass. In addition, she proposed innovative observation plans for NASA’s NICER telescope and analyzed its X-ray data, revealing the origin of an enigmatic neutron star binary system long-known for its unique properties.

It is rare for a graduate student to have so many achievements in various fields by the end of the second year of her doctoral studies. The award was given in recognition of "developing and implementing observational methods in the research of the beginning of the universe, the diffusion process of elements, and the final stage of the evolution of matter.”

L'ORÉAL-UNESCO For Women in Science Japan Fellowship Awards


(Written by Ken Ebisawa, Professor, Department of Astronomy (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency))