Congratuations to all our 2013 graduates in Astronomy. Pictured above are the five graduates who attended the May 30th degree-awarding ceremony (from left to right):
Nick Stone (Tidal Disruption of Stars by Supermassive Black Holes)
Greg Snyder (Modeling Spatially and Spectrally Resolved Observations to Diagnose the Formation of Elliptical Galaxies)
Bob Penna (Black Hole Accretion Disks and Jets: Connecting Simulations and Theory)
Rebekah Dawson (On the Migratory Behavior of Planetary Systems)
Zach Berta (Super-Earth and Sub-Neptune Exoplanets: a First Look from the MEarth Project).
Dr. Stone will be taking up a post-doctoral fellowship at Columbia.Dr. Snyder will be starting a post-doctoral fellowship in galaxy evolution at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD.Dr. Penna, winner of the ITC’s 2013 Keto Prize, has accepted the Pappalardo Fellowship at MIT.Dr. Dawson, who was the department’s 2013 Fireman Prize winner, has accepted a Miller Fellowship at UC Berkeley.Dr. Berta was awarded the MIT Torres Fellowship for Research on Exoplanets.
From Left: Irwin Shapiro, Mrs. Edward Fireman, Rebekah Dawson, Ruth Murray-Clay, Charles Alcock
Bekki Dawson was awarded the 2013 Fireman Fellowship of the Astronomy department for her PhD thesis, "On the Migratory Behavior of Planetary Systems." Department chair Avi Loeb presented the award to Dawson in an official ceremony on Monday, May 20, 201.
Astronomers have found a planetary system orbiting the star Kepler-62. This five-planet system has two worlds in the habitable zone — the distance from their star at which they receive enough light and warmth for liquid water to theoretically exist on their surfaces.
Science Magazine wrote a biographical article on Avi Loeb. From Cosmic Dawn To Milkomeda, And Beyond: The thoughts of Harvard theorist Avi Loeb traverse the universe, past and future—and he urges young researchers to be just as daring (pdf)
Stars align at astronomy reunion: Event draws researchers from around the world.
Left: Ruth Murray-Clay (from left), David Latham, Sara Seager, David Charbonneau, and moderator Charles Alcock were some of the faculty and alumni of the Astronomy Department that recently reunited for a luncheon, panel discussions, and evening reception.
Harvard Astronomy's Supernova Forensics group has teamed up with Astronomy 100 undergraduate students to unveil the nature of the peculiar SN2012au - a massive star that exploded some 75 million years ago. This energetic, slow-evolving and helium-rich explosion provides a golden link between the emerging class of "super-luminous" supernovae and other more seemingly normal supernovae that are far less bright.
Some observations of the supernova were obtained by two generations of Astro 100 students in 2012 and 2013 as part of the department's annual Spring Break trip to Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in Arizona. Students were the first to classify the new supernova in 2012 with the FLWO 1.5m telescope within just hours of its discovery by the Catalina Sky Survey. A year later, the next group of students used the FLWO 1.2m telescope to show that SN2012au is still shining bright and thus evolving slowly. A paper led by postdoc, Dan Milisavljevic, has been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters with details on this unusual stellar explosion (link).
Astronomy Department Chair Avi Loeb discussed the findings from the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite program that showed the universe as being a little older, containing a bit more mysterious dark matter, and expanding more slowly than previously thought.
Read this article in the Harvard Gazette that features Avi Loeb.