Caleb Scharf

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Caleb Scharf is a British-born astronomer and the director of the multidisciplinary Columbia Astrobiology Center at Columbia University, New York. He received a B.Sc. in Physics from Durham University, and a PhD in Astronomy from the University of Cambridge; he did postdoctoral work in X-ray astronomy and observational cosmology at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Maryland.

He has an extensive research record in observational cosmology but more recently works on topics in exoplanetary science and astrobiology. He is the author of the upper-level undergraduate textbook "Extrasolar Planets and Astrobiology", published in 2008 by University Science Books, CA. This book won the 2011 Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award and medal from the American Astronomical Society . He has many published professional papers in peer-reviewed journals with 109 papers listed in the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS); three have been cited over 100 times each: the highest counts are 264,[1] 139,[2] 116,[3] all in The Astrophysical Journal.

His blog Life, Unbounded appears at Scientific American and covers topics in astronomy, exoplanetary science, and astrobiology.

His first popular science book Gravity's Engines: The Other Side of Black Holes (US subtitle: How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rules Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Universe) was published in December 2012.[4] It was listed as one of the New Scientist top 10 books to read in 2012 and as one of The Barnes and Noble Review Editors' Picks: Best Nonfiction of 2012. His next book, The Copernicus Complex, is out in 2014 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


  1. ^ Mushotzky, R. F.; Scharf, C. A., The Luminosity-Temperature Relation at z=0.4 for Clusters of Galaxies
  2. ^ Horner, Donald J.; Mushotzky, Richard F.; Scharf, Caleb A. Observational Tests of the Mass-Temperature Relation for Galaxy Clusters
  3. ^ Scharf, C. A.; Jones, L. R.; Ebeling, H.; Perlman, E.; Malkan, M.; Wegner, G. The Wide-Angle ROSAT Pointed X-Ray Survey of Galaxies, Groups, and Clusters. I. Method and First Results
  4. ^ Gravity's Engines: The Other Side of Black Holes – reviewed by Tim Radford “Hearts of Darkness” in The Guardian, review section page 7 on 15 December 2012

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