AWIS Kirsten R. Lorentzen Award
Sophia Sánchez-Maes's world line originates in the New Mexico borderlands. A scientific realist working in mathematical relativity, her current theoretical research probes whether spacetime might have an exotic topology. She is employed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where she works to find and characterize worlds beyond our solar system. In her continuing geological work in conjunction with mentor Jun Korenaga, she showed that water is a necessary but insufficient condition for plate tectonics; making surface oceans a potential geologic observable for exo-earths. She has also served as principal investigator on a NASA Space grant investigating stellar activity, and written code for the Mars Rover. For her work, she has been designated an NSF Young Scholar, received the international Guiseppe Sciacca early-career prize for research, presented her findings to President Barack Obama, and was awarded the National Jefferson Award for greatest public service by an individual 25 or under. A member of Timothy Dwight college at Yale University, she is candidate for double major in physics (int.) and astrophysics. She will pursue a Ph.D. and continue into a career in physics as a researcher. She writes for the scientific magazine and is president of the Yale Society of Physics Students. She makes habit of reading short stories, writing science fiction, and keeping written correspondence.