Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Manuela Campanelli
Rochester Institute of Technology


"For extraordinary contributions to and leadership in the understanding and simulation of merging binaries of compact objects in strong-field gravity."


Manuela Campanelli is an astrophysicist and distinguished professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she is also the founding director of the Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation. Her primary research focuses on the merger of black holes and neutron stars, which generate gravitational waves, electromagnetic radiation, and relativistic jets. These investigations play a critical role in the emerging field of multi-messenger astronomy, where multiple signals are utilized to study cosmic events. Campanelli has been instrumental in the development of new computational techniques and simulations that aid in the interpretation and analysis of the gravitational-wave observations made by the LIGO detectors. Her groundbreaking work in numerical relativity in 2005 revolutionized the field in a remarkably short time, leading to its recognition as one of the landmark papers of the century by the APS. This work was also prominently featured in Kip Thorne's Nobel Prize presentation in 2017. Moreover, Campanelli's research has uncovered the captivating possibility of supermassive black holes being expelled from their host galaxies at astonishing speeds due to gravitational wave recoil, reaching several thousand kilometers per second. Her studies on the dynamics of binary black holes driven by spin, including matter dynamics, accretion disk properties, growth, and potential electromagnetic emissions, have recently gained significant attention within the astrophysics community. Campanelli holds a M.S. in applied mathematics from the University of Perugia (1991) and a PhD in Physics from the University of Bern (1996). She has been recognized as a Marie Curie Fellow (1998), an APS Fellow (2009), and a Fellow of the International Society on General Relativity and Gravitation (2019). In 2014, she became one of the first two women to receive a Trustee award at RIT, and, in 2020, the first woman to receive their title of Distinguished Professor. As a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, she was also a recipient of the Grueber Foundation award. In her service to the APS, Campanelli has held the positions of Chair of the APS Topical Group in Gravitation (2013) and Councilor of the Division of Gravitational Physics (2020). Additionally, she serves on the editorial board of Physical Review D.