Robert Kirshner

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Robert Kirshner
RobertKirshnerIMG 2728x.jpg
Born (1949-08-15) August 15, 1949 (age 66)
Fields Astrophysics
Institutions Harvard University
University of Michigan
Alma mater Harvard College (A.B.),
California Institute of Technology (Ph.D.)
Known for Type Ia Supernova Studies, Large Scale Structure, supernova remnants
Notable awards Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award
Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics (2011)
James Craig Watson Medal (2014)
Wolf Prize in Physics (2015)

Robert Kirshner is the Clowes Professor of Science in the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University.[1] Kirshner has worked in several areas of astronomy including the physics of supernovae, supernova remnants, the Large-scale structure of the cosmos, and the use of Supernovae to measure the expansion of the universe.

In 1981, along with, Augustus Oemler, Jr., Paul Schechter, and Stephen Shectman, Kirshner discovered the Boötes void in a survey of galactic redshifts.[2] Kirshner was a member of the High-z Supernova Search Team that used observations of extragalactic supernovae to discover the accelerating universe. This universal acceleration implies the existence of dark energy and was named the top science breakthrough of 1998 by Science magazine.[3] For this work he was jointly awarded the Gruber Cosmology Prize in 2007. Brian Schmidt, who had been supervised by Kirshner for his PhD, shared the Nobel Prize in 2011 for that same discovery.[4]

He is the author of The Extravagant Universe : Exploding Stars, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Cosmos (2002; ISBN 978-0-691-05862-7) and has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1998. He was the President of the American Astronomical Society from 2004-2006.

He received his A.B. magna cum laude in Astronomy from Harvard College in 1970, and his Ph.D., also in Astronomy, from Caltech. Prior to joining Harvard in 1985, he worked at Kitt Peak National Observatory and taught at the University of Michigan for 9 years.

He was the co-Master of Quincy House, one of Harvard's 12 undergraduate houses, along with his wife, Jayne Loader, before resigning in August 2007.

He is also the father of Rebecca Rand Kirshner.



  1. ^ "Robert P. Kirshner". Harvard. 
  2. ^ Kirshner, R. P.; Oemler, A. J.; Schechter, P. L.; Shectman, S. A. (1981). "A million cubic megaparsec void in Bootes". The Astrophysical Journal 248: L57–60. Bibcode:1981ApJ...248L..57K. doi:10.1086/183623. 
  3. ^ James Glanz (18 December 1998). "Breakthrough of the Year: Astronomy: Cosmic Motion Revealed". Science 282 (5397): 2156–2157. Bibcode:1998Sci...282.2156G. doi:10.1126/science.282.5397.2156a. Retrieved 2008-07-17. 
  4. ^ "Brian Schmidt". Retrieved 28 March 2015. 

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