The Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning works to advance the quality of undergraduate education by providing Harvard’s teachers with resources, programs and support that promote excellence in teaching. Each semester it recognizes with a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching those student instructors whose work is exemplary based on peer evaluations.
Prof. Avi Loeb has been awarded the 2013 Miegunyah Distinguished Visiting Fellowship at the University of Melbourne in Australia. This award is given to academics of international distinction in a field of interest to the University of Melbourne. Fellows are expected to present a public lecture and several specialist lectures. Previous recipients include Barbara Grosz, Tory Higgins, Thomas Mann, Michael Waltzer, and Joseph Weiler.
Irwin Shapiro was awarded the 2013 Einstein Prize of The American Physical Society. The Prize was established to recognize outstanding accomplishments in the field of gravitational physics and consists of $10,000 and a certificate that includes the appropriate citation. The citation that will appear on
Irwin's certificate reads as follows:
"For his contributions to experimental solar system tests of relativistic theories of gravity, and in particular for proposing and measuring the Shapiro time delay effect."
The Einstein Prize will be presented at APS April 2013 Meeting in Denver, CO, April 13-16, 2013, at a special Ceremonial session.
Alex Parker, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics’ Institute for Theory and Computation, has created several astronomical videos on his own time and posted them on the Internet. His latest video depicts the 2,299 planet candidates Kepler has found since it began searching for planets around stars in 2009.
In this artist's conception, a protoplanetary disk of gas and dust (red) is being shredded by the powerful gravitational tides of our galaxy's central black hole. Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)
At first glance, the center of the Milky Way seems like a very inhospitable place to try to form a planet. Stars crowd each other as they whiz through space like cars on a rush-hour freeway. Supernova explosions blast out shock waves and bathe the region in intense radiation. Powerful gravitational forces from a super-massive black hole twist and warp the fabric of space itself.
Harvard Astronomy Professor Avi Loeb has been appointed the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science, effective July 1, 2012. This professorship, established through the generous gift of the Frank B. Baird Jr. Foundation, recognizes an outstanding scientist in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
An international research team, led by Edo Berger of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, made the most of a dying star’s fury to probe a distant galaxy some 9.5 billion light-years distant. The dying star, which lit the galactic scene, is the most distant stellar explosion of its kind ever studied. According to Berger, “It’s like someone turned on a flashlight in a dark room and suddenly allowed us to see, for a short time, what this far-off galaxy looks like, what it is composed of.”
Kaisey Mandel (Ph.D. 2011), now a postdoc at Imperial College London, won the Savage Award of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis for the outstanding doctoral dissertation in applied methodology. His dissertation was "Improving cosmological distances to illuminate dark energy: hierarchical Bayesian models for type Ia supernovae in the optical and near-infrared." Kaisey received his award and gave a plenary talk at the ISBA World Meeting in Kyoto, Japan this summer.