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Priyamvada Natarajan

Professor, Departments of Astronomy & Physics, Chair, Department of Astronomy Yale University
External PI, Black Hole Initiative, Harvard University

Priya Natarajan finished her undergraduate studies at M.I.T., and moved on to get her Ph.D. from the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge University, where she was elected a Fellow of Trinity College. She is a theoretical astrophysicist working in cosmology, trying to understand the invisible Universe – dark matter, dark energy and black holes. Priya has made seminal contributions to our understanding of the coupling of the visible and dark universe: the formation, fueling, feedback and assembly history of supermassive black holes in their larger scale cosmic context and mapping dark matter substructure in clusters of galaxies. Her research has focused on confronting and testing theoretical ideas with observational data in astrophysics. She has made significant contributions to two key open problems in astrophysics – to the studies of dark matter using gravitational lensing and to our current understanding of the formation, fueling and growth of black holes over cosmic time. She is the recipient of many awards and honors including the Guggenheim and Radcliffe Fellowships and most recently the 2022 Liberty Science Center ‘Genius Award.’ Priya has served as Chair of the National Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee that advises NASA, NSF and DoE; as Chair of the Division of Astrophysics of the American Physical Society and is on the Scientific Editorial Board of The Astrophysical Journal. Deeply invested in inter-disciplinary scholarship, she is currently the Director of Yale’s Franke Program in Science and the Humanities. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed book Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos.

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