The infant universeAn all-sky picture of the infant universe revealing 13.77 billion-year-old temperature fluctuations (shown as color differences) that correspond to the seeds that grew to become the galaxies. (Credit: NASA/WMAP Science Team)

Astrophysics is a branch of astronomy that explores the physical properties of the cosmos and its composition. Astrophysicists study a broad range of topics, from the tiniest particles of matter and the forces that join them together to the grandest of celestial structures. In essence, astrophysics extends the workings of physics and chemistry that we experience directly here on Earth into the vastness of space. It is both an observational and theoretical science. To probe the universe's past, present and future, astrophysicists have built some of the most complex and precise machines in the world, including terrestrial and space-based telescopes tuned to various wavelengths. The continued seeking of new discoveries is constantly pushing the limits of telescope and model-building technology. 

Nano Meets Astro: A Dialogue with MacArthur Recipients Michal Lipson and Nergis Mavalvala

Jan 02, 2011

A conversation with Michal Lipson of Cornell University and Nergis Mavalvala of MIT, 2010 MacArthur Fellowship winners, on the intersections between nanoscience and astrophysics.

In Search of Another Earth

Artist's rendition of Kepler spacecraft.
Dec 27, 2010

In a three-part series, MIT News explored MIT researchers’ roles in the quest to find an Earth twin and the effort to make sense of the 500 exoplanets that have been discovered since 1995.

A New Job For Telescopes - Making Solar Energy

Dec 21, 2010

J. Roger Angel is one of the three 2010 Kavli Prize Laureates in Astrophysics who share the prize for their respective innovations in the field of telescope design -- allowing us to glimpse ever more distant and ancient objects and events in the remote corners of the Universe.

ASTRO 2010: Charting the Next Decade in Astronomy

Aug 27, 2010

Following the release of the National Research Council's Astronomy and Astrophysics decadal survey, survey chairman Roger Blandford and committee member Michael Turner discuss Astro2010, as well as the current and future directions of the fields.

The Future of Computing, from Extreme to Green

Aug 18, 2010

In September, 2010, leading scientists across several disciplines will gather for the next Kavli Futures Symposium to discuss what science needs from computing. In advance of this meeting, four of the participants discuss those needs, how current computing advances are impacting research, and how the future of computing is not only looking extreme and green, but is moving closer to how the brain computes.

Primordial Portrait of the Universe

Planck space telescope
Jul 14, 2010

Central to the science of cosmology is the zeal to build better time machines. These are not designed literally to travel to the distant past, of course, but to get a better look at it. The latest of these is the Planck Surveyor satellite. 

Wonder as a Motivator

May 20, 2010

In a special essay, KIPAC Director Roger Blandford discusses how wonder and curiosity has inspired his own life, and serves as a creative force to both science and the humanities.

Probing the Universe: Kavli Institute for Cosmology Cambridge

May 01, 2010

To help answer some of the most fundamental questions about the Universe, researchers at KICC are members of international collaborations that are making use of some the most advanced scientific instruments ever constructed.

Risa Wechsler: Shedding Light on the Dark Side

Ruth Weschler
Apr 09, 2010

Risa Wechsler, a member of the Kavli Institute for Particle Physics and Cosmology (KIPAC) at Stanford University, has a career path that has led to three Kavli institutes and one program, giving her particularly extensive roots in the Kavli community.

Colorado Bound: The Pierre Auger Project

Jan 01, 2010

In southeastern Colorado, a land better known for crops and livestock may soon host the world's largest astrophysical detector. If an international consortium of scientists gets a green light from funding agencies, it will build an array for detecting cosmic rays.


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