Skip to main content


Diana Valencia Wins The Paolo Farinella Prize

29 Sep 2021

The Europlanet Society has awarded U of T Physicist Diana Valencia the 11th annual Paolo Farinella Prize.

An Associate Professor of Physics and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto (Scarborough) and Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto, Valencia’s research focuses on planetary sciences, and specifically, the characterization of low-mass planets.

The award recognizes Valencia for her significant contributions in our understanding of the interior structure and dynamics of terrestrial and super-Earth exoplanets. She was one of the first scientists to combine geophysics and astrophysics to study exoplanets.

She says she’s grateful for this recognition. “I am honoured to receive this prize. Having spent two years in France as a Poincare Fellow, I feel a special connection to the European Planetary Community.”

“This prize is especially dear to me because I have seen the field grow from not knowing anyone else studying these planets when I was a PhD student, to a flourishing research field attracting numerous young scientists.”

The Paolo Farinella Prize is awarded annually at the Europlanet Science Congress (EPSC). It was established to honour the memory Paolo Farinella (1953–2000), in recognition to contributions in the fields of his varied interests, from planetary sciences to space geodesy, fundamental physics, science popularization, and security in space, weapons control and disarmament.

The winner is selected annually based on research in a chosen field, and must be no older than 47 years.

Valencia was awarded the prize jointly with Professor Lena Noack, a Planetary Scientist at Freie Universitat Berlin.

For more information on the Paolo Farinella Prize, visit:

To learn more about Valencia’s research, visit

For more information, please contact:
Meaghan MacSween
Communications and Multimedia Officer