Risa Wechsler KIPAC director

Welcome to Risa Wechsler, who began her appointment as director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (KIPAC). Our tremendous gratitude is due to Tom Abel, whose ably led KIPAC over the past five-years.  

The Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, or KIPAC, was inaugurated in 2003 as an independent laboratory of Stanford University to serve as a bridge between the disciplines of astrophysics, cosmology and particle physics. KIPAC's members work in the Physics and Applied Physics Departments on the Stanford campus and at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Its mission is to bring the resources of modern computational, experimental, observational and theoretical science to bear on our understanding of the universe at large.


Research Highlights

Aug 3, 2018 | Pulling double duty: How exoplanet hunting satellites can study supermassive black holes

In the centers of most galaxies lurk gigantic black holes, millions to billions of times the mass of the sun. Most of them are just minding their own business, but in about 10% of cases they are actively consuming matter and transforming much of it into vast amounts of energy. We call these gluttons “quasars”—supermassive black holes surrounded by bright, hot disks of gas called accretion disks. Although quasars are among the most luminous objects in the Universe, we still do not understand the detailed physics of how this matter behaves. This is now changing thanks to new insights and advances from an unexpected source: the highly sensitive timing satellites used to search for planets around other stars by continuously monitoring their brightness over time, to search for periodic dips caused by transiting planets.

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| Gravitational lenses
| Q&A: Finding Earth-like exoplanets requires new space telescopes
| Missing gamma-ray blobs shed new light on dark matter, cosmic magnetism
| Dark matter vibes
| Risa Wechsler named director of KIPAC

Recent ArXiv Publications


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