[Source: ESA – Italian Press Release on www.media.inaf.it]


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On 01 April 2010, the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) has decided to present the 2010 Zeldovich Medal for COSPAR Scientific Commission E (Research in Astrophysics from Space) to Dr. Vito Sguera (INAF IASF-BO). The Zeldovich Medal is given to young scientists who have demonstrated excellence and achievement in their field of research.
Zeldovich medals are conferred by COSPAR and the Russian Academy of Sciences and honor the memory of the distinguished astrophysicist Academician Yakov B. Zeldovich. The presentation of the award will take place at the inaugural ceremony of the 38th COSPAR scientific assembly in Bremen (19 July 2010).

Since its launch in 2002, the INTEGRAL observatory has played a key role in discovering many new high mass X-ray binaries thanks to its large field of view, continuous monitoring of the galactic plane and good sensitivity. The majority of these systems turned out to be persistent supergiant high mass X-ray binaries that escaped previous detection because of their very obscured nature. The remaining ones, named supergiant fast X-ray transients (SFXTs), were missed before because of the very low level of quiescent X-ray luminosities (~1032 -1033 erg s-1), occasionally interrupted by fast X-ray flares lasting typically less than a day and reaching peak luminosities of ~1036 erg s-1. This peculiar transient behaviour has never been seen before from classical persistent SGXBs, which are characterised by X-ray luminosities in the range 1036-1038 erg s-1 with a few of them rarely displaying flaring activity on a timescale of a few hours. The work by Dr Vito Sguera is contributing significantly to our knowledge on the supergiant fast X-ray transients.

Congratulations from the INTEGRAL team at ESA.