Anna Frebel - Headshot

Anna Frebel

Professor of Physics, Division Head for Astrophysics, MIT School of Science

Prof. Frebel is an observational astronomer and astrophysicist. She received her PhD from the Australian National University's Mt. Stromlo Observatory in 2007 and did postdoctoral work as a WJ McDonald Fellow in Austin, TX (2006-2008) and as Clay Fellow at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (CfA), in Cambridge, MA (2009-2012).

Prof. Frebel has received numerous honors and awards, including the 2010 Annie Jump Cannon Award (American Astronomical Society), a 2013 CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, and in 2016 she was named one of ScienceNews Magazine's “Ten Scientists to Watch”. She was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2018 and to full Professor in 2022.

Prof. Frebel has authored more than 120 papers in various refereed journals, including Nature. She also enjoys communicating science to the public through regular public lectures, magazine articles, interviews as well as her popular science book “Searching for the oldest stars: Ancient Relics from the Early Universe” (Princeton University Press).

  • Prof. Frebel's research interests broadly cover observational stellar astrophysics.
  • Prof. Frebel is best known for her discoveries and spectroscopic analyses of the oldest, most metal-poor stars in the Milky Way and small dwarf galaxies.
  • In 2005, Frebel discovered the star HE 1327-2326, which is the most iron-deficient star, stemming from a time very shortly after the Big Bang.

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