# 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

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.
See more at...

# What's out there in the universe?

March 10, 2016

Abraham “Avi” Loeb, Chair of Harvard’s Department of Astronomy and C. Meghan Urry, Director of Yale University’s Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, take us on a tour of these remarkable discoveries.

...

# LIGO’s black holes may have lived and died inside a huge star

February 17, 2016

Call it a gut reaction. The revolutionary discovery of space-time ripples may have come from two black holes colliding while inside the belly of an enormous star, whose subsequent collapse launched powerful jets of gamma rays.

Scientists already knew that the gravitational waves detected by LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, were generated when two black holes...

Read more about LIGO’s black holes may have lived and died inside a huge star

# 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. Although none was spotted, this work...

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

# The Hunt for Dwarf Galaxies’ Ancestors

January 12, 2016

"Dwarf galaxies are typically very faint, and are therefore hard to find. Given that, what are our chances of finding their distant ancestors, located billions of light-years away? A recent study aims to find out."

Anna Patej and Abraham Loeb 2015 ApJ 815...

# Seven Days of Genius: What's Out There?

January 7, 2016

### In the last two decades, knowledge about our universe has exploded.

Thanks to sophisticated instruments and space-traveling telescopes, we’ve gleaned astonishing new information about dark energy, dark matter, black holes, exoplanets and the nature of the early universe. Pluto, it turns out, may have water. Several of Jupiter’s...

# 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. Öberg’s combination of experimental work matched to focused millimeter observations and comparison simulations provides novel insight into the details of chemical processes taking place in planet-forming...

Read more about AAS awards Dr. Karin I. Öberg the Pierce Prize

# Watch Avi Loeb's lecture on "Black Holes" at the 100 Years Celebration of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity

November 19, 2015

Below is the video link just posted for Avi Loeb's lecture on "Black Holes" at the 100 Years Celebration of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, held at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton on November 6, 2015,

Read more about Watch Avi Loeb's lecture on "Black Holes" at the 100 Years Celebration of Einstein's General Theory of Relativity

# Professor Ramesh Narayan was elected a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS

November 19, 2015

Professor Ramesh Narayan was elected a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). TWAS is a global science academy based in Trieste, Italy, working to advance science and engineering for sustainable prosperity in the developing world.

• NARAYAN, Ramesh (USA): b.25-9-1950. PhD, Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences, Harvard University,...
Read more about Professor Ramesh Narayan was elected a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS

# John A. Johnson a recipient of the 2015 Fannie Cox Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching

October 20, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

It is my great pleasure to announce the recipients of the 2015 Fannie Cox Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching, Jene Golovchenko, Rumford Professor of Physics and Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics, and John Johnson, Professor of Astronomy. Made possible by a generous gift from alumnus Gardner Hendrie ’54 and consisting of a $10,000 personal award and$40,000 in unrestricted support for teaching and research, the Fannie Cox Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching recognizes exceptional teaching in introductory science courses. A...

Read more about John A. Johnson a recipient of the 2015 Fannie Cox Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching

# 2015 Fellows of the American Physical Society

October 13, 2015

Avi Loeb (Harvard), Douglas Finkbeiner (Harvard), and Patrick Slane (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) have been selected as Fellows of the American Physical Society (APS). This is a high honor, restricted to 0.5% of the membership in a given year. They were nominated by the APS Division of Astrophysics (DAP) because of their leading contributions to the field. APS will present the Fellowship certificates at the APS April Meeting.