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Harvard Astronomy

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Institute for Theory and Computation
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Black Hole Initiative
 Professor Avi Loeb        
(617) 496-6808 (office)
(617) 913-5598 (cellular)
(617) 495-7093 (office)
Center for Astrophysics
60 Garden Street, MS-51
Cambridge, MA, 02138
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Abraham (Avi) Loeb is the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University. Loeb published 4 books and nearly 600 papers (with an h-index of 92) on a wide range of topics, including black holes, the first stars, the search for extraterrestrial life and the future of the Universe. 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 and the Provost's Allston Academic Planning Committee. In 2012, TIME magazine selected Loeb as one of the 25 most influential people in space. Click here for Loeb's commentaries on innovation and diversity.  


Staff Assistant:
Ms. Uma Mirani
Tel: (617)496-5870 

Astron. Dept. Admin.:
Mr. Robb Scholten
Ms. Peg Herlihy

Tel: (617)495-3752 

ITC Administrator: 
Mr. Mark Palmer 
Tel: (617)495-1971 

BHI Administrator: 
Mr. Bill Nehring 
Tel: (617)496-8956 

Theory Div. Admin.: 
Ms. Nina Zonnevylle 
Tel: (617)495-7962 


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Stephen Hawking (in Loeb's home, 2016)




*"Conversation with Nobel Laureate, Rai Weiss", (Feb 15, 2018).

*"Renewing the Contract of Academia with Society" (Feb 14, 2018).

*"Origins of Life and `Oumuamua", Gizmodo (Feb 8, 2018).

*"Interstellar asteroids", Newsweek (Feb 2, 2018).

*"ITC Luncheon", The Harvard Crimson (Feb 1, 2018).

*"Starshot", Forbes (Jan 31, 2018).

*"Solar Flares May Seed Life", New Scientist (Jan 19, 2018).

*"Are Alien Civilizations Technologically Advanced?", Scientific American (Jan 8, 2018).

*"Search for Alien Life", Grapevine (Jan 3, 2018).

*"Are we Alone in the Universe?- Part II", Radio interview (Jan 1, 2018).

*"Are we Alone in the Universe?- Part I", Radio interview (Dec 29, 2017).

*"Panspermia", Newsweek (Dec 21, 2017).

*"The Search for Life", DailyPlanet, Discovery Channel, Canada (Dec 14, 2017).

*"Asteroid or alien?", CNN interview (Dec 12, 2017).

*'Oumuamua, Radio interview (Dec 12, 2017).

*"Mysterious Interstellar Object", The Atlantic (Dec 11, 2017).

*"The Case for Cosmic Modesty", TEDx Harvard College (Dec 5, 2017).

*"Subsurface Life on Icy Worlds", Universe Today (Dec 3, 2017).

*"Breakthrough Prize Ceremony", Palo Alto (Dec 3, 2017).

*"The first Black Holes Mergers in the Infant Universe", Physics.Org (Nov 30, 2017).

*"Breakthrough Starshot", Harvard Crimson (Nov 2, 2017).

*"Future Solar Storms Could Cause Devastating Damage", Scientific American (Oct 18, 2017).

*Our volnurability to solar flares will increase in the future", Radio interview (Oct 17, 2017).

*"Collision of neutron stars produces gold", Mashable (Oct 14, 2017).

*"Stargazing", TEDx Harvard College (Oct 14, 2017).

*"Mass of the Milky Way from Hypervelocity Stars", Universe Today (Oct 4, 2017).

*"Fast Radio Bursts Every Second" (Sep 21, 2017).

*"The Hunt for Alien Life", Australian Broadcasting Corporation (August 29, 2017).

*Q&A Podcast with Astronomy Magazine (August 14, 2017).

*"Breakthrough Starshot successfully launches world's smallest spacecraft", The Guardian (July 28, 2017).

*"To Infinity and Beyond", From the Grapevine (August 2, 2017).

*"Starshot Updates", Q & A ExoLife interview for the PLANETS Foundation (July 26, 2017).

*"Tides Boost the Prospects for Life", Gizmodo (July 20, 2017).

*"The Resilience of Life to Astrophysical Catastrophes", Science magazine; Gizmodo; Washington Post; BBC Interview (at the 26 minute mark); The Atlantic (July 14, 2017).

*"More to Life than the Habitable Zone", Scientific American (July 19, 2017).

*The Starshot Initiative, Popular Moechanics (July 11, 2017).

*Hawaii newspaper reports on Keck Observatory public lecture (July 9, 2017).

*KBIG Radio interview about "Habitability of Our Universe", Hawaii (July 7, 2017).

*"Cosmic Modesty in a Fecund Universe", Centauri Dreams (June 30, 2017).

*"The Case for Cosmic Modesty", Scientific American (June 28, 2017).

*"All Eyes on Proximan Centauri b", PNAS (June 27, 2017).

*"Transfer of Life Among the TRAPPIST-1 Planets", Astronomy magazine (June 14, 2017).

*"Is the life around the nearest stars?", Red Dots (June 13, 2017).

*"Supermassive Black Holes May Sterilize Nearby Planets", Scientific American (May 30, 2017).

*News article from 1989 at the start of Loeb's career (quoted in a new book, just published in 2017).

*"Podcast on the search for life", interview by Duncan Russell starts at 13.30 minutes (May 26, 2017).

*"Is Inflation a Predictive Scientific Theory?", Scientific American (May 9, 2017).

*"Search for Alien Signals", New Scientist (April 26, 2017).

*Breakthrough Starshot, interview for the weekly science podcast of the Guardian, UK (April 20, 2017).

*"A Trip to Proxima b" (a profile article in hebrew), Yekum Tarbut magazine (April 13, 2017).

*Fast Radio Bursts, TV interview for Discovery/Canada science program (April 7, 2017).

*Optimal design of light sails; News report (March 21, 2017).

*Spread of Life Between the TRAPPIST-1 Planets; News report (March 10, 2017).

*"Fast Radio Bursts from Extragalactic Light Sails"; NPR interview; BBC interview; The Economist; The Huffington Post ; (March 15, 2017).

*Black Hole Initiative featured on the JTF website (March 1, 2017).

*Latest study of the "Sandage-Loeb Test" (March 15, 2017).

*Podcast interview about "Life in the Universe" (February 22, 2017).

*"A Cell Phone Search for FRBs" (February 14, 2017).

*"A Black Hole in the Glubular Cluster 47 Tucanae", Nature (February 9, 2017).

*"Back to Basics" (February 4, 2017).

*"Farthest Stars in Milky Way Might Be Ripped from Another Galaxy" (January 11, 2017).

*"Astrophysical Russian Dolls", a commentary in Nature Astronomy (January 4, 2017).

*News report about Starshot lecture at the Calcalist conference "Forecasts 2017" (in hebrew; January 1, 2017).

*Podcast for the John Batchelor Show, "From the First Star to Milkomeda", (December 17, 2016).

*"Pop Goes the Universe", Scientific American (2017).

*Project Starshot: Visiting the Nearest Star Within Our Lifetime" CfA colloquium (December 1, 2016).

*Podcast of radio interview in the John Batchelor Show (November 30, 2016).

*Podcast for Nature magazine entitled: "Keep an Open Mind", starts at 15:10 minutes (November 3, 2016).

*"Good Data Are Not Enough", Nature (November 3, 2016).

*"Imaging of Proxima b", Gizmodo (October 14, 2016).

*"How to See Proxima b", Scientific American (September 29, 2016).

*"Interstellar travel", radio interview with John Catsimatidis (September 9, 2016).

*"The `Earth next door' may have a cozy atmosphere" Business Insider (September 9, 2016).

*Podcast of interview with Tamara LePine-Williams on Classic FM Radio, South Africa (September 8, 2016).

*"How we will get our first clue about life in Proxima b", Gizmodo (August 30, 2016).

*TV interview on the discovery of Proxima b, i24news (August 25, 2016).

*Audio interview by Howard Hughes, UK National Radio Station (August 14, 2016).

*Podcast on "The Future Universe - Teeming with Life?", in SparkDialog by Elizabeth Fernandez (August 15, 2016).

*Video of keynote lecture entitled "Innovation and Risk", given at the Breakthrough Discuss conference in stanford on April 15, 2016.

*Likelihood of Life as a Function of Cosmic Time (August 1, 2016).

*Press release on Direct Collapse Black Holes (July 6, 2016).

*TV interview on the Breakthrough Starshot Initiative, newTV (June 22, 2016).

*Universe's first life might have been born on carbon planets (June 9, 2016).

*Article about Breakthrough Starshot (in hebrew), Calcalist (May 5, 2016).

*Stephen Hawking's speech at Passover dinner in Loeb's home, Scientific American (April 22, 2016).

*"The Black Hole Initiative", Smithsonian magazine (April 18, 2016).

*"Destination: Nearest Star", Q & A at the Harvard Gazette (April 15, 2016).

*Video of announcement of Breakthrough Starshot with Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking (April 12, 2016).

*"Reaching for the Stars, Across 4.37 Light Years", New York Times (April 12, 2016).

*"Revealing the Universe's Mysterious Dark Age", NOVA NEXT (April 6, 2016).

*Podcast by Scientific American about the LIGO event (March 30, 2016).

*Q & A with Avi Loeb and Meg Urry, moderated by Claudia Dreifus, during the "Seven Days of Genius" Festival at 92Y in New York City (March 7, 2016).

*LIGO's black holes may have lived and died inside a huge star (2/2016).

*LIGO discovery, ITC luncheon (2/2016).

*Search for aliens, Boston Globe (2/2016).

*Physics in 1 Trillion Years, NOVA, PBS (2/2016).

*LIGO discovery, Boston.com (2/2016).

*"The Hunt for Dwarf Galaxies Ancestors", AAS Nova (1/2016).

*Launch of new book in hebrew, entitled "From the First Star to the End of Time", Tel Aviv University (12/2015).

*"Fast Radio Bursts Mystery", Scientific American (12/2015).

*"The Archaeology of Stars", cover story of Discover magazine (12/2015).

*"Black Holes", video of lecture at GR@100, IAS, Princeton (11/2015).

*"Promoting Diversity in Faculty Searches", see minute 47 and later in the video (10/15).

*Celebration of 500th paper with my research group (10/15).

*"Cosmic Dawn" Horizon episode broadcasted by BBC TWO (9/15) ; inspired by Loeb's Scientific American article from 2006

*Observational test for the spread of life between stars (panspermia), Discover magazine (8/15); original paper

*SETI of Leakage from Light Sails in Exoplanetary Systems, Popular Mechanics (8/15); original paper

*Breakthrough Initiatives in the Search for Life, TIME (7/15)

*"How Avi Loeb did not become a philosopher. Or did he?", a tweet by John Preskill (7/15)

*"Astronomers Glimpse Very First Stars in the Universe", National Geographic (6/15)

*"Abundant Water in the First Billion Years", Press Release (4/15)

*"Fostering Talent", Physics World (4/15)

*"Is Avi Right?", George Efstathiou, click on 17:00 (4/15)

*"SKA Headquarters", Physics World (4/15) ; Nature (3/15)

*"The Dark Lab", Science Magazine (3/15)

*"Gigantic Black Hole Discovered from the Dawn of Time", National Geographic (2/15)

*Detecting Gravitational Waves with Atomic Clocks", Smithsonian magazine (2/15)

*Essay on "How to collect matches that will catch fire"; News report in Italian (2/15)

*BBC filming for Horizon program on the first stars (1/15)

*"Black hole binary", NY Times (1/15)

*Two of Loeb's students, Henry Lin and Tony Pan, are featured in Forbes magazine list of "30 under 30 in Science" (1/15)

*"Relativistic stars", TIME magazine (12/14)

*"Much-Discussed Views that Go Way Back", New York Times (12/14)

*"Black Hole Fails to Destroy Mystery Cosmic Cloud", National Geographic (11/14); Space.com (11/14)

*Trip through wormholes, Smithsonian Magzine (11/14)

*TV interview by Douglas Kennedy (10/14)

*Q&A interview on pages 22 and 23 of the 2014 Harvard's FAS Dean's Report (10/14)

*"The Lost Donkeys of Science", Project Syndicate (10/14)

*Public Lecture on "New Search Methods for Primitive and Intelligent Life Far from Earth" ; Harvard Crimson report ; Harvard Gazette report ; Astronomy magazine report (10/14)

*"Pollution on Other Worlds May Show Advanced Alien Life", ApJL ; TIME Magazine article (7/14) ; NPR interview (8/14)

*"Interplanetary World Cup", Sports Illustrated (6/14)

*"Galactic Collision Gave Andromeda Its Arms", Nature (6/14)

*"On the Benefits of Promoting Diversity of Ideas", Nature Physics (9/14) ; INAF article (in Italian)

*Collision between the Milky Way and Andromeda, National Geographic (3/14)

*Cosmic Dawn, Scientific American (4/14)

*Theory of everything, Space.com (3/14)

*Interviews on cosmology, "Closer to Truth" (3/14)

*Hunt for Rogue black holes, Space.com (3/14)

*TV interview about the Big Bang (in hebrew), Channel 2, Israel (3/14)

*Big Bang Theory, Smithsonian Magazine (3/14) , in New Scientist , in Harvard Gazette, and public lecture (2/14)

*Review of book on First Galaxies, Physics Today (2/14)

*The latest snack of SgrA*, NY Times (2/14) ; and PBS Newshour (3/14)

*Creativity in science, NPR (2/14)

*"Closing the Window on Primordial Black Holes as Dark Matter" ; see report in Nature (1/14) , or in New Scientist (2/14)

*"Insights on Supermassive Black Holes", Nature (1/14)

*"Fast Radio Bursts Might Come from Nearby Stars" ; see press release (12/13)

*"The Habitable Epoch of the Early Universe" ; see report in Nature (12/13) , radio interview (3/14) , in Space.com (1/14) , in Slate magazine (2/14) and in Ciel \& Espace (French, 2/14)

*"Chasing Avi Through Outer Space Media", by Charlie Petit (12/13)

*"The 25 Most Influential People in Space", by TIME Magazine. (12/12)



red color bar 2017 ITC
black line Biography (Smithsonian Science Education Center, 2015) The Case for Cosmic Modesty (TEDx Harvard College, 2017) Search for Life (Discovery Channel, Canada, 2017) Q&A (New York City, 2017)

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Books authored by Loeb:



Opinion Essays Essays by Loeb on the promotion of innovation, diversity and excellence.
Curriculum Vitae Current biographical information as well as a listing of all publications.
Astro-ph Publication Search Search of the astro-ph archives for Prof. Loeb's scientific publications.
ADS Publication Search Search of the ADS abstract database for Prof. Loeb's scientific publications.
Books "From the First Star to Milkomeda", A. Loeb (Kindle, 2015).

"From the First Star to the End of Time" (in hebrew), A. Loeb (Carmel Publishing House, Israel 2015).

"The First Galaxies in the Universe", A. Loeb & S. Furlanetto (Princeton University Press, 2012).

"How Did The First Stars and Galaxies Form?", A. Loeb (Princeton University Press, 2010).

"First Light in the Universe", A. Loeb, A. Ferrara, & R. S. Ellis (Springer-Verlag, 2008).
Search for Life Review article for Science & Technology Magazine, PEN (July 2017).
Career Path Autobiographical sketch of Loeb's career path (November 2015).
Science Profile Overview of Loeb's career path in Science Magazine (April 2013).
Discover Profile Overview of Loeb's contributions to studies of the first galaxies in Discover Magazine (April 2014).
TIME Profile Articles about Loeb's research in TIME Magazine.
New York Times Profile A conversation with Claudia Dreifus (December 2014).
Harvard Q&A Interview featured in FAS Dean's Report (October 2014).
Podcast An interview for the "superstars of astronomy" series of Astronomy magazine (May 2015).
Cosmic Dawn A BBC Horizon program featuring Loeb (September 2015).
Are We Alone? A Scientific American article about novel techniques to search for intellengent life (August 2015).
Biographical sketch Brief account of Loeb's biography and research highlights.
Graduate Students List of current and former graduate students.

Video segments of Loeb's students (2014).
Webcasted Lectures and Interviews *Q&A public forum entitled: "Cosmic Modesty", New York City (June 16, 2017).

*"The Case for Cosmic Modesty", TEDx talk at Harvard College (Oct 14, 2017).

*Video of CfA Colloquium on "Project Starshot: Visiting the Nearest Star Within Our Lifetime", December 1, 2016.

*Colloquium entitled "Habitability of our Universe", Institute for Astronomy, Honolulu, Hawaii (July 5, 2017).

*Lecture about Starshot at "Beyond the Cradle" conference, MIT (March 12, 2017).

*Video of talk in hebrew at the Calcalist conference on "Forecasts 2017", Tel Aviv, December 28, 2016.

*Video of public lecture in hebrew at Tel Aviv University, December 28, 2016.

*Video of keynote lecture entitled "Innovation and Risk", given at the Breakthrough Discuss conference in Stanford on April 15, 2016.

*TV interview on the Brakthrough Starshot Initiative, newTV (June 22, 2016).

*"Black Holes", video of lecture at GR@100, IAS, Princeton (November 6, 2015).

*"From the First Star to the End of Time", video of public lecture about Loeb's new book (in hebrew) at Tel Aviv University (December 30, 2015).

"Advanced Topics in Black Hole Research", colloquium at Harvard's Center for Mathematical Sciences and Applications (February 18, 2015).

"New Search Methods for Primitive and Intelligent Life Far From Earth", Public lecture at Harvard's Science Center (September 23, 2014).

"Are We Alone? The Search for Extraterrestrial Life", Public lecture in hebrew at Tel Aviv University (December, 2014).

"Interview on The Search for Extraterrestrial Life", Serious-Science, Moscow, Russia (June 17, 2014).

"Interview on The First Stars and Galaxies", Serious-Science, Moscow, Russia (June 17, 2014).

"Advances in Probing the Spacetime Near Astrophysical Black Holes", Sommerfeld Theory Colloquium, LMU, Munich, Germany (June 18, 2014).

"Are Fast Radio Bursts Galactic or Cosmological?", Phillips auditorium (May 7, 2014).

"Interview on The Habitability of the Early Universe", Stuart Davis Media (March 28, 2014).

"The Scientific Story of Genesis", Harvard College Observatory Night (Feb. 20, 2014).

*Interviews on cosmology, "Closer to Truth" (March 2014)


Harvard conferences organized by Loeb May, 2000: "The First Generation of Cosmic Structures"

May, 2002: "Gamma-Ray Bursts: The Brightest Explosions in the Universe"

May, 2004: "Astrophysics of Planetary Systems"

May, 2006: "The History of Nuclear Black Holes in Galaxies"

May, 2008: "21cm Cosmology"

May, 2010: "Dynamics from the Galactic Center to the Milky Way Halo"

May, 2011: "Hydrogen Cosmology"

May 14-17, 2012: "Testing General Relativity with Astrophysical Systems"

May 19-22, 2014: "Debates on the Nature of Dark Matter"

May 16-19, 2016: "The Transient Sky"
Press Releases Links to old press releases and science news articles.
Scientific Images Simulation of the collision between the Milky-Way and Andromeda, and a brief summary of the future of the Universe and the appearance of the black hole at the center of our galaxy
Photos A collection of personal photos.



*"21-cm Cosmology", invited review for Reports on Progress in Physics (9/11)

*"Let There be Light", invited review for UNESCO EOLSS encyclopedia (4/08)

*"The Physics and Early History of the Intergalactic Medium", Reports on Progress in Physics (11/06)

*"First Light" (book), SAAS-Fee Winter School (4/06)

*"The Reionization of the Universe by the First Stars and Quasars", Annual Reviews of Astronomy & Astrophysics (10/00)

*"In the Beginning: The First Sources of Light and the Reionization of the Universe", Physics Reports (10/00)


red color bar 2017 Harvard Astronomy red color bar Loeb Sketch
Comments or Questions? Contact umirani@cfa.harvard.edu