February

Alicia Soderberg selected as a Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow.

February 15, 2012

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced the selection of 126 outstanding U.S. and Canadian researchers as recipients of Sloan Research Fellowships for 2012. Awarded annually since 1955, the fellowships are given to early-career scientists and scholars whose achievements and potential identify them as rising stars, the next generation of scientific leaders. Harvard Astronomy Professor Alicia Soderberg was selected for this honor.

Press Release

Kaisey Mandel is a finalist for this year's Savage Award for the best doctoral dissertation by the International Society for Bayesian Analysis

February 15, 2012

Kaisey Mandel (Harvard Ph.D. Astronomy 2011), who is currently a postdoc in the Astrostatistics group at Imperial College London has been notified that he is a finalist for this year's Savage Award for the best doctoral dissertation by the International Society for Bayesian Analysis.  They are inviting him to their meeting in Tokyo to give a talk and attend the award ceremonies.

http://bayesian.org/awards/Savage.html

Twelve students and postdocs from the Astronomy department were awarded Einstein/Hubble/Sagan fellowships in 2012

February 14, 2012

Twelve students and postdocs from the Astronomy department were awarded
Einstein/Hubble/Sagan fellowships in 2012: Laura Blecha, Smadar Naoz, Joey
Neilsen and Meng Su were awarded an Einstein fellowship; Kaitlin
Kratter, Matt McQuinn (former student), Stella Offner, Yue Shen, Jack
Steiner, and Mark Vogelsberger were awarded a Hubble fellowship;
and Sarah Ballard and Jean-Michel Desert were awarded the Sagan
fellowship. 

Synopsis: Tidal Disruption of a Star (N. Stone and A. Loeb)

February 9, 2012

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Swift

The cores of most galaxies are thought to harbor black holes with masses of a million or more suns. But many remain unseen until an unlucky star passes too close and is pulled apart by tidal forces. The stellar debris gathers into a disk and spirals towards the black hole in the center. As it does, it may form a jet of material that beams high-energy light like a flashlight. Last spring, the Swift satellite measured a flare of x rays and gamma rays from a distant galaxy that has the hallmarks of such a jet that happens to point right at us.

Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy to Heather A. Knutson, Astronomy PhD '09

February 8, 2012

The Annie Jump Cannon Award for outstanding research and promise for future research by a woman goes to Heather Knutson (Caltech) "for her pioneering work on the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres." Knutson's groundbreaking observations of wavelength-dependent thermal emission of exoplanets over large fractions of their orbit have revealed details of atmospheric dynamics, energy transport, inversion layers, and chemical composition. Her work has expanded the rich field of planetary characterization by providing new windows into the atmospheres of planets beyond the confines of our solar system.