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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 May, 2004, 10:28 GMT 11:28 UK
Sun expert in line for top award
Professor Shadia Habbal
Professor Shadia Habbal is nominated for a prestigious award
A mid Wales academic who is a world-renowned expert on the Sun, has been shortlisted for this year's Asian Women of Achievement Awards.

Shadia Habbal, professor of solar terrestrial physics at the Institute of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, is one of five women nominated in the professional category.

Professor Habbal, originally from Syria, will attend the award ceremony at the London's Hilton Hotel, in Park Lane, on 27 May.

I'm both delighted and honoured to be nominated for such a prestigious award.
Professor Shadia Habbal

Her research work focuses on exploring the source of the solar wind, combining theoretical studies with a wide range of observations made from spacecraft and ground-based instruments.

She has played a key role in establishing Nasa's solar probe mission, which, if approved, will be the first spacecraft to actually fly into the solar corona.

Professor Habbal, a mother-of-two, said: "I'm both delighted and honoured to be nominated for such a prestigious award.

"My family too is proud I've been nominated for the national award.

"I've received awards before when I've worked for other institutions, but nothing on this scale.

"There are numerous award categories and I'm in the professional woman of the year section."

Key role

A graduate of the University of Damascus, Professor Habbal also has a masters' degree from the American University of Beirut, and a PhD from the University of Cincinnati in the United States.

She joined the staff of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in 1978, where she established a research group in solar-terrestrial physics prior to her appointment at Aberystwyth as a professor in solar-terrestrial physics.

The Sun, as taken by the Soho spacecraft (NASA)
Prof Habbal has played a key role in NASA's solar probe mission to fly into the solar corona.

The professor has also written more than 80 papers and was appointed editor to the Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics in 2002.

She is a member of numerous professional bodies including the American Astronomical Society and the International Astronomical Union, as well as being a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Proefessor Habbal was also honoured as Guest Professor of the University of Science and Technology of China recently.

And if that is not enough, she plays the cello and is an avid supporter of the arts.

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