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Anna Frebel

Anna Frebel Astronomer

The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Astronomer
A.K.A. Frebel
Is Physicist Astronomer Scientist Astrophysicist Professor Educator
From Germany
Type Academia Science
Gender female
Birth 1980, Berlin, Margraviate of Brandenburg
Age: 40 years
The details

Anna Frebel (born 1980 in Berlin) is a German astronomer working on discovering the oldest stars in the universe.


Anna Frebel grew up Göttingen, Germany. After finishing high school, she studied physics in Freiburg im Breisgau. She continued her studies in Australia, and obtained her PhD from the Australian National University's Mount Stromlo Observatory in Canberra. A W. J. McDonald Postdoctoral Fellowship brought her to the University of Texas at Austin in 2006, where she continued her studies.

From 2009 to 2011 she was a Clay Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge (Massachusetts). Since 2012 she is an assistant professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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. In 2007 she also discovered the red giant star HE 1523-0901, which is about 13.2 billion years old.

Awards and honors

  • 2007: Charlene-Heisler-Prize for the best astronomy PhD in 2006 in Australia
  • 2009: Opening presentation XLAB Science Festival, Göttingen
  • 2009: Ludwig Biermann Award (Young Astronomer Award) of the German Astronomical Society
  • 2010: Annie J. Cannon Award of the American Astronomical Society
  • 2010: Lise Meitner Lecturer, Göttingen and Innsbruck
  • 2011: Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow, National Academy of Sciences

Publications (selection)

  • Auf der Suche nach den ältesten Sternen (in German), Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 2012, ISBN 978-3-10-021512-3
  • Astronomical Society of the Pacific, ed. (2008), New horizons in astronomy : Frank N. Bash Symposium 2007 : proceedings of a workshop held at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas, USA, 14–16 October 2007 (in German), San Francisco
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