Dr Marie Korsaga and Professor Renée Kraan-Korteweg Receive Inaugural African Women Awards

The inaugural awards of the African Network of Women in Astronomy are recognising two exceptional women in science. Burkina Faso’s first woman astronomer Dr. Marie Korsaga received the early career award, while Prof. Renée Kraan-Korteweg from South Africa received the senior award. The awards recognise and support the scientific achievements and contributions to society, of women in Astronomy in Africa. They are given by the African Network of Women in Astronomy (AfNWA), a committee of the African Astronomical Society, and by the International Science Programme of Uppsala University in Sweden. The awards are worth EUR 1,500 (USD 1,664) each.

Dr Marie Korsaga

Dr Korsaga has many achievements under her belt. She is the first Burkinabe woman to obtain a PhD in astronomy. Dr. Korsaga is a postdoctoral researcher at the Observatoire Astronomique de Strasbourg in France. She is also a lecturer at the Université Joseph Ki-Zerbo in Burkina Faso. In her research, Dr. Korsaga works on dark matter and where it is found in galaxies. For that, she uses observations from optical, infrared and radio telescopes. These research subsequently give her a broad skillset in astronomy.

Dr. Korsaga is a passionate advocate for women in STEM in the global and African astronomy communities. She has given a number of high-profile talks, including a TEDx talk. She has also spoken at the African Union and was recently honoured by the city of Huesca, Spain in their newly unveiled sundial. Dr Marie is also a founding member, and sits on the editorial board, of “L’Astronomie Afrique”, the first francophone online astronomy magazine in Africa.

Professor Renée Kraan-Korteweg

Prof. Kraan-Korteweg is a senior research scholar at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. She has held a number of high-profile positions over her career. These include leading the Astronomy department at the University of Cape Town from 2004 to 2014 and Astronomy department at the University of Guanajuato in Mexico. Her research interests include unveiling the large-scale structure of the universe and understanding how it came to be. She is also a user of astronomical observations from various telescopes and has recently discovered a new supercluster of galaxies hidden behind the Milky Way galaxy. Consequently, her work has received internationally recognition, and she has received various awards.

Prof. Kraan-Korteweg has supervised over 30 graduate students in her career. Furthermore, she has attracted significant research funding (both for her own work, and for the departments she has led). In addition, she has been a key advocate for the growth of astronomy on the African continent as well as the support of women in astronomy. The award consequently acknowledges the vast impact she has had for women in Astronomy in Africa.

The award-winning women will subsequently receive invitations to give a plenary talk at the general assembly of the African Astronomical Society in March 2022.