Thursday February 18, 2014 there were four short presentations celebrating the 50 years anniversary for the discovery of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) as evidence for the Big Bang. The event took place at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and featured Alan Guth (inflation), Bob Wilson (co-discoverer of the CMB), Bob Kirshner (cosmic acceleration), and Avi Loeb (future of the universe).
Watch an online webcast of an Harvard-Smithsonian Observatory Night event tonight (Thursday, February 20, 2014) at 7:30PM celebrating "50 Years After the Discovery of the Big Bang", featuring four 20 minute presentations by Alan Guth, Bob Wilson, Bob Kirshner, and Avi Loeb.
"Black holes, the ultradense collapsed objects predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity, are often depicted as voracious feeders whose extraordinary gravity acts like a one-way membrane: Everything is sucked in, even light, and virtually nothing leaks out.
Karin Oberg won the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship for 2014. Also among the recipients are the former students of our department, Ryan Hickox and Phil Hopkins, and the former ITC postdoc, Dan Fabrycky.
"The Sloan Research Fellowships seek to stimulate fundamental research by early-career scientists and scholars of outstanding promise. These two-year fellowships are awarded yearly to 126 researchers in recognition of distinguished performance and a unique potential to make substantial contributions to their field." Read more about Karin Öberg Selected as 2014 Sloan Fellow
Sarah Rugheimer was selected as a 2014 Horizon Scholar. The Horizon Scholars are recognized as graduate students "whose ideas, innovations, and insights have the potential to reshape their disciplines."
"It has been called an elegant solution to a difficult problem. The notion that mysterious dark matter, which holds galaxies together, is made of primordial black holes that formed when dense regions of early Universe gravitationally collapsed was laid out in 1971 by physicist Stephen Hawking of the University of Cambridge, UK1. Read more about Search for primordial black holes called off
Alicia Soderberg studies the death of stars. Often, these final moments come as violent explosions known as . They're spectacular events, but catching one as it unfolds can be tricky. "You have to be in the right place at the right time, and often we're not," says the professor in Harvard's astronomy department. "So all you can do is do a stellar autopsy and go back and try to pick up the pieces and try to figure out what happened." Read more about Dying Stars Write Their Own Swan Songs
"Aliens might have existed during the Universe’s infancy. A set of calculations suggests that liquid water — a prerequisite for life — could have formed on rocky planets just 15 million years after the Big Bang..." (Nature, Article)
A team of planet hunters estimates that about 22 percent of the Sun-like stars in our galaxy may have planets about the size of Earth that are bathed in similar amounts of sunlight — and potentially habitable. That's the conclusion of a new analysis by Erik Petigura, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley of observations taken by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, which was launched in 2009 to hunt for potentially habitable Earth-like planets around other stars. Read more about Galaxy Quest: Just How Many Earth-Like Planets Are Out There?
"Kepler 78b, a planet some 400 light-years away, is like hell on earth. Astronomers described it on Wednesday as the first Earth-size planet that seems to be made of the same mixture of rock and iron as Earth, and that orbits a star similar to our sun. At that close proximity, the surface of Kepler 78b is infernally hot: 3,500 to 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit, or ... “Exoplanets are just surprising us with their diversity,” said Dimitar D. Sasselov, a professor of astronomy at Harvard and a member of Dr. Pepe’s team, using the name for planets outside our solar system.
Each year, the MacArthur Foundation names several dozen of the nation's most creative and influential people as MacArthur Fellows which provides funds for two years which the recipients can use toward any purpose. The Class of 2013 awardees includes Harvard alumna Sara Seager.
Referring to them as "an array of the most brilliant," David Bjerklie and the editors of Time Magazine in a photo-centric supplement entitled The 25 Most Influential People in Space named Avi Loeb, Dave Charbonneau, Adam Reiss and Sara Seager for their contributions to astronomical research.
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.
What is dark matter? Well, we know what it's probably not: black holes. Astronomy Chair, Avi Loeb, and several colleagues decided to test the idea whether or not smallish black holes could be the source of the universe's dark matter, and Time Magazine's Michael Lemonick has written an excellent overview of their conclusions.