Faculty

Lars Hernquist

2020 Gruber Prize in Cosmology has been awarded to Harvard's Lars Hernquist and Volker Springel of the Max Planck Institute

May 6, 2020

Citations reads: "The 2020 Gruber Cosmology Prize recognizes Lars Hernquist, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and Volker Springel, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, for their defining contributions to cosmological simulations, a method that tests existing theories of, and inspires new investigations into, the formation of structures at every scale from stars to galaxies to the universe itself."

Press release:  https://gruber.yale.edu/2020-gruber-cosmology-prize-...

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Avi Loeb

Prof. Avi Loeb, Chair of the Astronomy Department, nominated to serve on White House Science and Technology Advisory Committee.

April 22, 2020

The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is an advisory group of the Nation's leading scientists and engineers, appointed by the President to augment the science and technology advice available to him from inside the White House and from cabinet departments and other Federal agencies.   Prof. Loeb's nomination is subject to approval by Congress.  Also nominated was Dr. Daniela Rus, Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence...

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Black and white photo of an asteroid ‘Oumuamua, rock floating in space

How to Search for Dead Cosmic Civilizations If they’re short-lived, we might be able to detect the relics and artifacts they left behind

October 1, 2018

"The rate of growth of new technologies is often proportional to past knowledge, leading to an exponential advance over time. This explosive process implies that very quickly after a civilization reaches technological maturity, it will develop the means for its own destruction through climate change, for example, or nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. Developments of this type, over mere hundreds of years, would appear abrupt in the cosmic perspective of billions of years. If such self-destruction is common, this could explain Fermi’s paradox, which asks “where is everybody?”—and...

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Two hands with a Cats Cradle string with images of crows

The Fate of Free Will: When Science Crosses Swords with Philosophy: In some domains the two knowledge systems are complementary, but in others they might be headed for conflict

September 17, 2018

Avi Loeb's latest Scientific American blog, "Scientific discoveries substantiate our awe when faced with the richness and universality of the laws of nature. But science falls short of explaining this natural order and why it exists in the first place."

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Images of stars with an inset of a galaxy

FRB 121102: New Bursts From Older Data

September 17, 2018

“Not all discoveries come from new observations,” says Pete Worden, in a comment referring to original thinking as applied to an existing dataset. Worden is executive director of the Breakthrough Initiatives program, which includes Breakthrough Listen, an ambitious attempt to use SETI techniques to search for signs of technological activity in the universe. Note that last word: The targets Breakthrough Listen examines do extend to about one million stars in the...

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Computer model of a quasicrystal. Credit: Eric Heller Getty Images

The Power of Anomalies: Progress in science is sometimes propelled by the discovery of experimental oddities that inspire a fresh perspective on nature

August 28, 2018

Read the new Scientitic American blog entry by Avi Loeb, 

"Progress in science is sometimes triggered by surprises. Data collection resembles gathering of new pieces in a jigsaw puzzle and placing them together. Sometimes one of the pieces does not quite fit. It is natural for scientists to instinctively argue that such a piece does not belong; perhaps it is an artifact driven by uncertainties in the data or a misinterpretation of the experiment."

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