Essay written by Avie Loeb for Scientific American, "They’re nurtured by informal dialogues in environments where mistakes are tolerated and critical thinking is encouraged"... Read more about Where Do Ideas Come from?
Second year graduate student Juliana Garcia-Mejia traveled to her hometown, Medellín, to participate of Clubes de Ciencia (translation: Science Clubs), Colombia. Clubes de Ciencia is a non-profit organization founded in 2014 by a group of graduate students and postdocs from Harvard’s MCB & CCB departments and medical school. Read her first hand account of the trip.
Edo Berger also presented the Leo Goldberg prize for excellence in a senior thesis to Eden Girma. Eden is also a recipient of a University Hoopes Prize for the project entitled “Astrometric Detection of Intermediate Mass Black Holes.”
At the annual Awards Ceremony, Rita Fireman and Astronomy Chair Avi Loeb are seen presenting the Fireman Fellowship Award to Philip Cowperthwaite for this year's best dissertation in the field of Astrophysics at Harvard. This award is named in honor of Rita's husband, Edward Fireman, a long time physicist at the Smithsonian Astronomical Observatory. Phil is a student of Edo Berger and will be starting a Hubble Post-doctoral Fellowship at the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena.
"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."
Garcia-Mejia: Last month, I was lucky enough to win a NASA lottery to attend the TESS launch as a VIP guest at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL. As is the case with rocket launches, there were a series of launch windows starting on April 16, 2018, at 6:32pm. As hundreds of scientists were getting ready to board the buses that would take us from the KSC visitor complex to the viewing site on April 16, a NASA representative crushed our launch-viewing dreams with a simple two words: "launch scrubbed". A second launch window did not open until Wednesday, April 18 at 6:51pm...
Astronomy 100 students went on a group trip to FLWO over spring break this year. They went to the University of Arizona mirror lab, Biosphere 2 and observed for 3 nights on the 48" and 60" telescope atop Mt. Hopkins.
"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."