Astrophysicist Brice Ménard of the Johns Hopkins University has been selected by the Maryland Academy of Sciences as the Outstanding Young Scientist of 2012. He received the award at a ceremony at the Maryland Science Center earlier this week. Ménard, an assistant professor in the Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy, was recognized for his research in extragalactic astrophysics and cosmology.
The award program was established in 1959 to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary contributions of young Maryland researchers across all fields of science. Many previous recipients have gone on to distinguished scientific careers, including one who became a Nobel laureate.
"I am very honored to receive this award and I appreciate the efforts of the Maryland Academy of Sciences to encourage young scientists and increase public awareness of all the exciting science done in the area," Ménard said.
Ménard came to Johns Hopkins in 2010 from the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics in Toronto, where he had worked as a senior research associate since 2006. His research—which involves statistical analyses of large astronomical data sets—aims to achieve a better understanding of how galaxies form and evolve, and how dark matter is distributed in space. His work has led to the detection of gravitational magnification by dark matter around galaxies, the discovery of tiny grains of dust in the intergalactic space, and a better understanding of how light rays propagate throughout the Universe.
He is a joint member of the Kavli Institute for Physics and Mathematics at Tokyo University. He earned his doctorate from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany and the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris. Post-doctoral work was done at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. In February, Ménard won a 2012 Sloan Research Fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and last year he was the recipient of the 2011 Henri Chrétien grant award by the American Astronomical Society. He currently teaches a course on data analysis attracting students from a variety of departments.