News

Photo of a Professor standing in front of a chalkboard and students

Making Academia Matter Again

April 17, 2018

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."

Read More: ...

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Stephen Hawking speaking at the launch of the Black Hole Initiative at Sanders Theater, Harvard University

It is a sad day for the world of physics and humanity

March 14, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

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...

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Artist's impression of an explosion in space. Credit: kyoshino Getty Images

For E.T. Civilizations, Location Could Be Everything

March 13, 2018

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."

...

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The first stars in the universe cartoon

Cosmic dawn: astronomers detect signals from first stars in the universe

February 28, 2018

"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."  

"Stars began illuminating the heavens by about 180 million years after the...

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Aerial photo of students on campus

Renewing the Contract between Academia and Society

February 14, 2018

"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."

Read More: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/renewing-the-contract-between-academia-and-society/

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Research Integrity Resources Initiative

February 13, 2018

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...

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Maciek Wielgus presents at the Harvard Center for Astrophysics Astronomy Colloquium Thursday afternoon. KAI R. MCNAMEE

Astronomers Discuss Black Holes, Cosmic Radiation at Luncheon

February 5, 2018

"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."

Harvard Crimson: http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2018/2/2/astrophysics-luncheon-talk/

 

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Yellow Triangle with the text Sputnik

Weekend Special: "Are We Alone in the Universe?"

January 2, 2018

"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."

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This artist's concept depicts the interstellar visitor known as 'Oumuamua as a battered metallic space rock. Some astronomers, however, speculate that 'Oumuamua may be something far stranger. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Alien Probe or Galactic Driftwood? SETI Tunes In to 'Oumuamua

December 13, 2017

"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."

Press Coverage:
  • Scientific American: ...
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