News and Events

Wen-fai Fong (PhD 2014) Wins the 2016 APS Division of Astrophysics Thesis Award

Wen-fai Fong (PhD 2014) Wins the 2016 APS Division of Astrophysics Thesis Award

May 3, 2016

Dr. Wen-fai Fong, who completed her doctoral thesis in 2014 with Prof. Edo Berger, was awarded the 2016 Outstanding Doctoral Thesis in Astrophysics Prize from the American Physical Society Division of Astrophysics.  Dr. Fong's thesis was titled "Unveiling the Progenitors of Short Gamma-ray Bursts".  Information about the award is available from: https://www.aps.org/programs/honors/dissertation/astrophysics.cfm and a short bio for Dr.

Destination: Nearest star

Destination: Nearest star

April 15, 2016

Astronomer explains plan to send tiny spaceships to Alpha Centauri

"A group of astronomers and technology entrepreneurs has announced an audacious plan to send a fleet of tiny spaceships traveling at a fifth the speed of light to the nearest star, Alpha Centauri. 

"The plan would see humankind leap out of the solar system with the aid of an ultralight vessel made of what are essentially cellphone components and a thin, reflective light sail propelled by an enormous array of Earth-based lasers. 

Read full interview with Avi Loeb. 

Fast Radio Burst "Afterglow" Was Actually a Flickering Black Hole

Fast Radio Burst "Afterglow" Was Actually a Flickering Black Hole

April 4, 2016
Last February a team of astronomers reported detecting an afterglow from a mysterious event called a fast radio burst, which would pinpoint the precise position of the burst's origin, a longstanding goal in studies of these mysterious events. These findings were quickly called into question by follow-up observations. New research by Harvard astronomers Peter Williams and Edo Berger shows that the radio emission believed to be an afterglow actually originated from a distant galaxy's core and was unassociated with the fast radio burst.
Yuan-Sen Ting will participate in the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Yuan-Sen Ting will participate in the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

March 2, 2016

Astronomy’s Yuan-Sen Ting will participate in the 66th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.  He was chosen via an international, multi-stage application process.  The 396 grad students and post docs, all under the age of 35 from 80 countries, will get the chance to spend a week with 30 Nobel Laureates mainly from the field of physics.

Astronomers Report Results of First Search for Visible Light Associated with Gravitational Waves

Astronomers Report Results of First Search for Visible Light Associated with Gravitational Waves

February 14, 2016

Einstein's general theory of relativity predicts the emission of gravitational waves by massive celestial bodies moving though space-time. For the past century gravitational waves have eluded a direct detection, but now the LIGO Virgo Collaboration has announced the first direct detection of gravitational waves, emitted by a merging pair of black holes. Catastrophic mergers of binary systems can also produce brilliant and explosive fireworks of light, so a team of astronomers, including at Harvard, sought evidence of such an visible afterglow.

Moiya McTier

Moiya McTier Awarded 2016 Chambliss Student Achievement Award

February 9, 2016

Meet Moiya McTier, recipient of the 2016 Chambliss Student Achievement Award. This award is granted every year by the American Astronomical Society (AAS) to recognize exemplary research by undergraduate and graduate students. Moiya is currently a senior at Harvard University. She won this award for her work on determining exoplanet habitability using orbital eccentricity.

AAS awards Dr. Karin I. Öberg the Pierce Prize

AAS awards Dr. Karin I. Öberg the Pierce Prize

January 5, 2016

The AAS awards Dr. Karin I. Öberg the Pierce Prize for her research on the astrochemistry and astrophysics of ices and molecules in star-forming regions and proto-planetary disks. The panel recognizes Dr. Öberg’s scientific leadership in her ability to identify important, well-defined, and tractable problems, yielding fundamental advances in the field of star and planet formation. Dr.