Robert Kirshner
  • 2015 Wolf Prize in Physics


American astronomer. Prof. Kirshner was awarded the Wolf Prize in Physics for “creating the group, environment and directions that allowed his graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to uncover the acceleration in the expansion of the universe.”

Education and Work Experience

1975, Ph.D. in Astronomy, Caltech
1997-1998&2006-2007&2011-2012,General Member, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics
2015-Present, Chief Program Officer for Science, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation 2016-Present, Clowes Research Professor of Science, Harvard University

Honors and Awards

2011, Dannie Heineman Prize in Astrophysics
2014, Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (with High-Z Team)
2014, James Craig Watson Medal (the United States National Academy of Sciences)
2015, Wolf Prize in Physics

Major Academic Achievements

Robert Kirshner has devoted his professional life to cutting-edge research on cosmology and supernovae. The discovery of the acceleration in the expansion of the universe is a landmark in fundamental physics, as well as in astronomy, and presents a profound challenge to theorists. In the 1980s, Kirshner’s program of monitoring supernova explosions in a suite of wavelengths was the world’s most extensive and led to (Type Ia supernovae) SNIa becoming widely accepted as the best for cosmological investigations. This was an essential step for the later discovery of the acceleration of the expansion.
Kirshner also led a program in which ultraviolet spectra of SNIa’s were measured with the Hubble Space Telescope. The results enabled the effects of redshift on the light (“photometry”) from supernovae at different distances to be properly corrected.