From the February 2015 issue

Garik Israelian: From Stars to the Starmus Festival

This astrophysicist turned event planner discusses what inspired his interest in astronomy, the types of objects he studies, and the basis for one of the most spectacular science conferences in the world.
By | Published: February 16, 2015 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Garik Israelian
Max Alexander/Starmus Festival; podcast music provided by Getty Images
Garik Israelian, an astrophysicist at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands, is the creative director and spiritual father of the Starmus Festival. In 1999, he led a collaboration that found the first observational evidence that supernova explosions are responsible for the formation of black holes. Israelian has spoken at dozens of professional conferences, including TED Global. He was awarded the 2010 Ambartsumian Prize for Astrophysics, Physics or Mathematics.

In this hourlong interview with Editor David J. Eicher, Israelian looks back on what got him into astronomy before diving into his current passion project: the Starmus Festival, which held its most recent iteration last September. He shares which famous actors and musicians inspired him and provides an extensive recollection of the inaugural event [23:25]. Finally, Israelian turns to his astrophysics research, explaining what he and colleagues have been working on lately, from exoplanets and massive stars to black hole binaries [42:45].

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