Abraham (Avi) Loeb
Director, Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC), and Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science, Harvard University
Former Chair, Department of Astronomy (2011-2020)
Professor Loeb has published more than 800 papers and 8 books on a broad range of research areas in theoretical astrophysics and cosmology, including the first stars, the epoch of reionization, the formation and evolution of massive black holes, the search for extra-terrestrial life, gravitational lensing by planets, gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) at high redshifts, 21-cm cosmology, the use of the Lyman-alpha forest to measure the acceleration/deceleration of the universe in real time (the so-called "Sandage–Loeb test"), the future collision between the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies, the future state of extragalactic astronomy, astrophysical implications of black hole recoil in galaxy mergers,tidal disruption of stars, and imaging black hole silhouettes. Some of his papers (e.g., on planet microlensing, direct collapse of black hole seeds at the centers of the first galaxies, 21-cm cosmology, and the habitability of the universe over cosmic time) are considered as pioneering in areas that have become by now the focus of established communities of astrophysicists. Loeb was among the very first theorists to trigger the research frontier on the "cosmic dawn" of the first stars and galaxies.
Avi Loeb is the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University. He serves as Chair of the Department of Astronomy, Founding Director of Harvard's Black Hole Initiative and Director of the Institute for Theory and Computation (ITC). He also chairs the Advisory Committee for the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative, serves as the Science Theory Director for all Initiatives of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation, and holds the Sackler Senior Professorship by Special Appointment at Tel Aviv University. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the International Academy of Astronautics, as well as Vice Chair of the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies. Within Harvard, Loeb serves on the President's Task Force on Diversity and Belonging, the Provost's Allston Academic Planning Committee, and the FAS Dean's Faculty Resources Advisory Committee. In December 2012, TIME magazine selected Loeb as one fo the 25 most influential people in space.
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