Dr Kerri Donaldson Hanna awarded Winton Capital prize by the Royal Astronomical Society

Dr Kerri Donaldson HannaThe Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) has awarded a 2018 Winton Capital prize, which recognises the outstanding work of young researchers, to Dr Kerri Donaldson Hanna, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Christ Church.

Funded by Winton Capital in recognition of the skills provided to the services sector by trained astronomers and geophysicists, the Winton prizes (each worth £1000) are for research by a Postdoctoral Fellow in a UK institution in respectively astronomy and geophysics whose career has shown the most promising development. 

Dr Kerri Donaldson Hanna, UKSA Aurora Research Fellow in the Department of Physics, is honoured for her contribution to her field of geophysics. Specialising in the study of the surface compositions of rocky, airless bodies through infrared remote sensing, Dr Donaldson Hanna is currently playing a key role on NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex mission to return a sample of the asteroid Bennu to Earth in 2022. 

Her research record includes leading on projects combining datasets across multiple wavelength ranges and work in the field of thermal infrared spectroscopy. Alongside her research goals, Dr Donaldson Hanna also makes contributions to the wider planetary science community, organising RAS specialist discussion meetings and acting as a committed mentor for budding planetary scientists. Her wider research focuses on understanding the formation and evolution of planetary crusts of airless bodies like the Moon, Mercury and asteroids. She pursues this research interest using several methods including: (1) obtaining telescopic observations of these objects, (2) analysing and interpreting telescopic observations and spacecraft observations of these objects, and (3) making laboratory measurements of airless body analogues to compare with the remote sensing observations.  Kerri is also interested in understanding the effects of the near surface conditions of airless bodies on their thermal infrared signature and how to best simulate that in the laboratory. 

Dr Donaldson Hanna said: 'I feel quite honoured to be recognised for my early career achievements through such a prestigious award and genuinely appreciate those that nominated me for the award.'