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Director, MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research

Robert A. Simcoe is the Francis L. Friedman Professor of Physics and Director of the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. He specializes in observational astrophysics, with particular emphasis on the chemistry of galaxies and intergalactic matter in the early universe. An amateur astronomer and telescope maker from his youth, Simcoe went on to earn his A.B. in Astrophysical Sciences from Princeton in 1997, and his Ph.D. in Astronomy from Caltech in 2003. He joined the MIT Physics faculty in 2006, after which he served as PI and Project Scientist for the FIRE infrared spectrometer. FIRE is a facility instrument for the 6.5 meter Magellan telescopes and has enabled leading research on quasars and intergalactic matter in the epoch of reionization. He is PI of two additional instruments slated for commissioning in the next three years: the LLAMAS wide-field integral field spectrometer at Magellan, and the WINTER telescope, which will perform the first time-domain survey of the infrared sky using novel InGaAs sensors. He was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan foundation research fellowship in 2009.

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