Senate Faculty

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Alexei V. Filippenko

BA, 1979, Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara

PhD, 1984, Astronomy, California Institute of Technology

Miller Fellow for Basic Research in Science, 1984-86, University of California, Berkeley

-Professor of Astronomy

501 Campbell Hall


Alex Filippenko’s CV: Alex-Filippenko-CV

Alex Filippenko’s publication list: Alex-Filippenko-publications-July2021

Specialty areas

Active galaxies,Astronomy,Astrophysics,Black hole transients,Black holes,Cosmology,Galaxies at Cosmological Distances,Gamma-ray bursts,Neutron Stars,Supernovae,The expansion of the Universe.

Research Interests

Alex Filippenko and his collaborators are determining the nature of the progenitor stars and the explosion mechanisms of different types of supernovae and gamma-ray bursts. He is also using supernovae as cosmological distance indicators, and he was a member of both teams that discovered (in 1998) the accelerating expansion of the Universe, probably driven by “dark energy” — a discovery that was honored with the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics to the teams’ leaders. He also works on quantifying the physical properties of quasars and active galaxies, and he searches for black holes in both X-ray binary stars and nearby galactic nuclei. His group has developed the 0.76-meter Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope (KAIT), which has conducted one of the world’s most successful searches for relatively nearby supernovae, discovering more than 1000 of them. He is a frequent user of Lick Observatory, the 10-meter Keck telescopes, and the Hubble Space Telescope.


Alex Filippenko is a Richard & Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences, and a Miller Senior Fellow in the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science (UC Berkeley). His accomplishments, documented in about 1000 research papers, have been recognized by several major prizes, including a share of both the Gruber Cosmology Prize (2007) and the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (2015). One of the world’s most highly cited astronomers, he is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences (2009) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2015), as well as an elected AAS Fellow (2021). In 2017, he was selected for the Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award. He has won the most prestigious teaching awards at UC Berkeley and has also been voted the “Best Professor” on campus a record 9 times. Selected in 2006 as the Carnegie/CASE National Professor of the Year among doctoral institutions, he has also received the Richard H. Emmons Award for undergraduate teaching (2010). He produced five astronomy video courses with “The Great Courses” (see below), coauthored an award-winning astronomy textbook, and appears in more than 120 TV documentaries, including about 50 episodes of “The Universe” series. He has given over 1000 public lectures or other presentations, and he was awarded the 2004 Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization. An avid tennis player, runner, hiker, skier, whitewater rafter, snorkeler, and scuba diver, he enjoys world travel and he loves to observe total solar eclipses (17 so far).

Alex’s recent or upcoming public talks:

(1) Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 3-4:40 pm: The Commonwealth Club. “Alex Filippenko: Astronomer to the Stars.” See .

(2) Friday,  August 20, 2021: Sonoma Valley Authors Festival. See


View Alex Filippenko’s Full Publications List


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