Dr Guillem Anglada-Escudé from the School of Physics and Astronomy has been named one of the top ten people who matter in science in 2016 by the prestigious scientific journal Nature. The annual list, known as "Nature's 10", highlights researchers from around the world who have made a major impact this year.
Dr Anglada-Escudé led an international team of scientists who discovered an Earth-mass planet, called Proxima b, in orbit around the nearest star to the Sun — the results were published in Nature in August. The team used facilities operated by ESO (the European Southern Observatory) and other telescopes, to conclude that Proxima b orbits its star every 11 days and has a surface temperature suitable for the presence of liquid water. It may even be the closest possible candidate for the existence of life outside the Solar System, an exciting prospect for scientists and the public alike.
This important discovery has also been recognised by other notable publications. The Institute of Physics magazine, Physics World, named it one of the top ten breakthroughs in physics in 2016. The research paper was also ranked number 38 in a list of the world's top 100 "most discussed" journal articles of 2016, known as the Altmetric Top 100. And the Guardian newspaper has listed the discovery of Proxima b as one of the top 12 science discoveries of 2016.
Image credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser