Dr. Iair Arcavi

School of Physics and Astronomy
ביה"ס לפיזיקה ואסטרונומיה סגל אקדמי בכיר
Dr. Iair Arcavi
Phone: 4258
Office: Kaplun, 115


Dr. Iair Arcavi (Senior Lecturer) works on extragalactic observational astrophysics, specifically astronomical transients, including understanding the diversity of core-collapse supernovae and connecting them to their massive star progenitors, mapping the observational properties of tidal disruption events and using them to study accretion physics and the population of supermassive black holes, and electromagnetic followup of gravitational wave events to find the optical flares (known as macronovae or kilonovae) produced by neutron star mergers and using them to constrain the physics of neutron stars, their mergers, and their roles in creating the heavy elements.


Research achievements include: performing the first characterization of the core-collapse supernova population in dwarf galaxies to constrain the role of metallicity in driving massive star evolution and explosion, obtaining some of the earliest and densest observations of supernovae in order to constrain their progenitor properties and explosion physics, identifying a new class of rapidly rising luminous supernovae, as well as other peculiar explosions, which defy current explosion models, establishing the first optical class of tidal disruption events and discovering their peculiar (and still mysterious) host-galaxy preference, and leading one of the teams that discovered the first kilonova following the gravitational-wave detection of a neutron star merger.


Future directions include: leveraging the large-scale transient surveys coming online (ZTF, BlackGEM, LSST) together with rapid-response facilities such as the Las Cumbres Observatory robotic global telescope network, and new observation triggering, and data management and sharing software such as the Supernova Exchange, TDE Central, and the GW Treasure Map, to expand and improve the study of the above topics through several order-of-magnitude increases in the number of infant supernovae, tidal disruption events, and neutron-star mergers observed, and the insights gained from such samples.


  • B.Sc. Physics and Mathematics, Tel Aviv University, 2007

  • M.Sc. Astrophysics, Weizmann Institute of Science, 2009

  • Ph.D. Astrophysics, Weizmann Institute of Science, 2013

Academic Appointments

  • Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Astrophysics, Tel Aviv University, 2018

Awards and Prizes

  • The Chaim Langzem Excellence Scholarship, Tel Aviv University, 2005

  • Dean’s honor list, Faculty of Exact Sciences, Tel Aviv University, 2005

  • Dean’s honor list, Faculty of Exact Sciences, Tel Aviv University, 2007

  • Dean’s prize of M.Sc. students, Weizmann Institute of Science, 2011

  • Dr. Moshe Gilboa Ph.D. Excellence Scholarship, Wolf Foundation, 2012

  • Harvey L. Karp Discovery Award, 2015

  • NASA Einstein Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2016

  • Alon Fellowship for young researchers, 2018

  • Nathan Rosen Prize for Experimental Physics, The Israeli Physical Society, 2020

  • Various excellence in teaching awards, Tel Aviv University, 2019-2023

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