"What is the distribution of sizes of black holes in our universe? Can black holes of any mass exist, or are there gaps in their possible sizes? The shape of this black-hole mass function has been debated for decades — and the dawn of gravitational-wave astronomy has only spurred further questions."
"The first challenge in the hunt for life elsewhere in our universe is to decide where to look. In a new study, two scientists examine whether Sun-like stars or low-mass M dwarfs are the best bet for hosting exoplanets with detectable life."
Avi Loeb's lated Scientific American blog post explores the idea that, "A civilization in the habitable zone of a dwarf star like Proxima Centauri might find it hard to get into interstellar space with conventional rockets."
Avi Loeb offers his perspective on opening up academia. "Academic freedom is a precious commodity, critical to ensure that discovery of the truth is not encumbered by political or ideological forces. But this does not mean that intellectuals should hide in academic bunkers that, by protecting us from criticism by “non-experts,” allow ego to flourish and enable a focus on questions that are not actually relevant to anyone else. We experts should have to explain ourselves."
It is a sad day for the world of physics and humanity.
Stephen embodied the superiority of mind over matter. He demonstrated that the human spirit can overcome all physical limitations and that the human mind can comprehend the deepest secrets of nature. With his optimistic mindset, he discovered that even black hole can shine brightly. His work on black holes and the early universe had a great impact our current research in these fields.
Stephen visited us for a few weeks in April 2016 for the inauguration of the Black...
Avi Loeb has written another great essay, "Astronomers have recently determined that rare elements such as gold and uranium are produced as a result of rapid capture of free neutrons during the merger of two neutron stars. Neutron stars are the densest stars known, having the size of a city (12 kilometers) and up to twice the mass of the sun, with the density of an atomic nucleus. A teaspoon of neutron star material weighs a trillion kilograms, as much as a tall mountain on Earth."
"An experiment to estimate when stars began to form in the Universe suggests that gas temperatures just before stars appeared had fallen well below predicted limits, and that dark matter is not as shadowy as was thought."
"For the first time, scientists may have detected hints of the universe’s primordial sunrise, when the first twinkles of starlight appeared in the cosmos."
"It is easy for professors to hide deep inside the trenches of their expertise—bunkers that protect them from criticism by “non-experts” and allow them to promote their egos without supervision. True, academic freedom is a precious commodity that should be held sacred in order to enable discovery of the truth in the face of sociological forces and ideological dogma."
The Research Integrity Resources Initiative was created to provide FAS researchers with proactive tools to support excellence in the stewardship of strong research data. Some of these resources are provided to make the FAS community aware of offices, policies, training, and programs that are currently available across Harvard University.
In addition, this initiative also provides resources to manage conflict, communication, and/or behavioral concerns to avoid misunderstandings that may lead to allegations of research misconduct and to...
"About a hundred astronomers and visiting scholars gathered in the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics’s Phillips Auditorium to hear about the latest advancements in astrophysics at a Thursday luncheon hosted by the Harvard-based Institute for Theory and Computation."
"Are we alone? This is surely a question each and every one of us has asked, at some point in our lives. And while most of us go no further than simply putting this question out there, there are people who feel compelled to devote time and effort in a bid to find the answer. Today our guest on Sputnik's Weekend Special is just such a man - Abraham Loeb, Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University and an adviser to the Breakthrough Listen project."
"It’s a long shot, but scientists are about to listen very closely for radio signals from our solar system’s first known interstellar visitor." "Ever since its discovery in mid-October as it passed by Earth already outbound from our solar system, the mysterious object dubbed ‘Oumuamua (Hawaiian for “first messenger”) has left scientists utterly perplexed."
"It’s impossible to miss when the seasons change. But do most people understand the science behind those changes? According to decades-old research by astronomers and educators at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), probably not."
"Somewhere in the neighborhood of the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri—4.25 light years from Cambridge—a small, hyper-reflective spacecraft will home in on an unfamiliar planet." Full article in the Harvard Crimson
For thousands of years, humans have searched for a way to turn matter into gold. Ancient alchemists considered this precious metal to be the highest form of matter. As human knowledge advanced, the mystical aspects of alchemy gave way to the sciences we know today. And yet, with all our advances in science and technology, the origin story of gold remained unknown. Until now.