Anna-Christina Eilers Has Won Three Prestigious Awards For Her Thesis Research At The Max Planck Institute For Astronomy

Wednesday, November 18, 2020
by Kelso Harper

Anna-Christina Eilers, a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow with the MIT Kavli Institute, has won three prestigious awards for her thesis research at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy. In her thesis work, Eilers studied extremely luminous galaxies called quasars that exist 13 billion light years from Earth. Light from these quasars takes so long to reach Earth that we see them in the early stages of their life, just a few hundred million years after the big bang (a short time, cosmically speaking). Eilers’ thesis research revealed that the supermassive black holes at the center of these quasars grow much faster in the early universe than in the quasars we’ve observed closer to home. For this discovery, Eilers was awarded the Otto Hahn Medal from the Max Planck Society, the Doctoral Thesis Prize from the German Astronomical Society, and a PhD Prize from the International Astronomical Union. Eilers says that in her position at MIT, “I’m building upon my thesis work and really trying to figure out how to solve this puzzle that we found. What mechanisms could explain how these black holes grow so fast?”​