"The more we look to nature, the closer we can get to answering fundamental questions about the world around us — about the past, but also about the future. That’s the beauty of science.” — Amir Siraj (New York Times, 2021)
Amir Siraj is a concert pianist (New England Conservatory of Music, M.M. candidate, Class of 2023) and theoretical astrophysicist (Harvard University A.M./A.B., Class of 2022). He is a fellow at the Harvard College Observatory and the Director of Interstellar Object Studies for the Galileo Project.
Recently named as one of Astronomy Magazine's 25 Rising Stars, Siraj seeks to understand the solar system in the context of its galactic environment through research topics including: interstellar objects, asteroids and comets, planetary system formation and evolution, supernovae, black holes, dark matter, and the search for life in the universe. The youngest scientist named to Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2021, Siraj is a recipient of the Institute for Theory and Computation Predoctoral Fellowship, Goldwater Scholarship, Thomas T. Hoopes Prize, Leo Goldberg Prize (Senior & Junior), Origins of Life Summer Undergraduate Research Prize Award, Mirzakhani Scholarship, John Harvard Scholarship, Harvard College Scholarship, and the Harvard College Research Program Grant. Siraj's research was featured as one of 2020's Best Space Moments and two of the 10 Mind-Blowing Recent Astronomical Developments, including #1 for the latter. Siraj is former president of Harvard Students for the Exploration and Development of Space and former Senior U.S. Editor of the Harvard Political Review.
A U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, Siraj is currently pursuing a Master's degree in piano at the New England Conservatory of Music, studying under the guidance of Professor Wha Kyung Byun. Siraj has been featured as a guest soloist with the Boston Symphony and the Boston Pops, and has played for luminaries such as Moon Jae-in, Justin Trudeau, and Queen Rania of Jordan. He is a Steinway Young Artist and an alum of the Lang Lang International Music Foundation Young Scholars Program. Siraj has performed at venues including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Wigmore Hall in London, and Millenium Park in Chicago. He appeared at the GRAMMY Salute to Classical Music at Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium, Swiss Alps Classics in Vitznau, and JBLFest in Las Vegas. Siraj is passionate about using music for social good and has collaborated with organizations including the National Park Foundation, Massachusetts General Hospital, Music For Food, and the Leeds International Piano Competition on such efforts, most recently by founding the Music For The Parks initiative with the support of NPR's From The Top. He served as Assistant Music Director of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, the oldest theater group in the United States, and was a member of the Harvard Krokodiloes, Harvard University's oldest a cappella group.
Siraj believes in the intersectional power of the arts and sciences, recently having collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, Imany, Matthias Maurer, Josef Aschbacher, and Gabriela Ramos on an event at UNESCO headquarters in Paris exploring how space and music can inspire humanistic ideals.
Astronomy CV (current as of October 30, 2022)
32. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Interstellar Meteors are Outliers in Material Strength," accepted for publication in ApJL. [arXiv:2209.09905]
31. Siraj, A., et al. "Physical Considerations for an Intercept Mission to a 1I/'Oumuamua-like Interstellar Object," accepted for publication in JAI. [arXiv:2211.02120]
30. Siraj, A., Loeb, A, & Gallaudet, T. "An Ocean Expedition by the Galileo Project to Retrieve Fragments of...CNEOS 2014-01-08," submitted to JAI. [arXiv:2208.00092]
29. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "New Constraints on the Composition and Initial Speed of CNEOS 2014-01-08," RNAAS (2022). [arXiv:2204.08482]
28. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "The New Astronomical Frontier of Interstellar Objects," invited review for the journal Astrobiology. [arXiv:2111.05516]
27. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Preliminary Evidence That Protoplanetary Disks Eject More Mass Than They Retain," submitted for publication. [arXiv:2108.13429]
26. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Intelligent Responses to Our Technological Signals Will Not Arrive In Fewer Than Three Millennia," accepted for publication in Acta Astronautica. [arXiv:2108.01690]
25. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Explaining Neptune's Eccentricity," RNAAS (2021). [arXiv:2104.07672]
24. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "The Mass Budget Necessary to Explain `Oumuamua as a Nitrogen Iceberg," New Astronomy (2021). [arXiv:2103.14032]
23. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Breakup of a Long-Period Comet as the Origin of the Dinosaur Extinction," Nature Scientific Reports (2021). [arXiv:2102.06785]
22. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "The Copernican Principle Rules Out BLC1 as a Technological Radio Signal from the α Cen System," submitted for publication. [arXiv:2101.04118]
21. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Interstellar Objects Outnumber Solar System Objects in the Oort Cloud," MNRAS (2021). [arXiv:2011.14900]
20. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Observable Signatures of the Ejection Speed of Interstellar Objects from their Birth Systems," ApJL (2020). [arXiv:2010.02214]
19. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Transfer of Life Between Earth and Venus with Planet-Grazing Asteroids," submitted for publication. [arXiv:2009.09512]
18. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "The Case for an Early Solar Binary Companion," ApJL (2020). [arXiv:2007.10339]
17. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Risks for Life on Proxima b from Sterilizing Asteroid Impacts," PSJ (2020). [arXiv:2006.12503]
16. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Searching for Black Holes in the Outer Solar System with LSST," ApJL (2020). [arXiv:2005.12280]
15. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Impacts of Dust Grains Accelerated by Supernovae on the Moon," ApJL (2020). [arXiv:2004.11379]
14. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Repeated Impact-Driven Plume Formation On Enceladus Over Myr Timescales," Icarus (2021). [arXiv:2003.07866]
13. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Detecting Interstellar Objects through Stellar Occultations," ApJL (2020). [arXiv:2001.02681]
12. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Observational Signatures of Sub-Relativistic Meteors," submitted for publication. [arXiv:2002.01476]
11. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Possible Transfer of Life by Earth-Grazing Objects to Exoplanetary Systems," Life (2020). [arXiv:2001.02235]
10. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Exporting Terrestrial Life Out of the Solar System with Gravitational Slingshots..." IAJ (2020). [arXiv:1910.06414]
9. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "An Argument for a Kilometer-scale Nucleus of C/2019 Q4," RNAAS (2019). [arXiv:1909.07286]
8. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Radio Flares from Collisions of Neutron Stars with Interstellar Asteroids," RNAAS (2019). [arXiv:1908.11440]
7. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "A Real-Time Search for Interstellar Impacts on the Moon," Acta Astronautica (2020). [arXiv:1908.08543]
6. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Halo Meteors," New Astronomy (2020). [arXiv:1906.05291]
5. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Probing Extrasolar Planetary Systems with Interstellar Meteors," [arXiv:1906.03270]
4. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "A Meteor of Apparent Interstellar Origin in the CNEOS Fireball Catalog," ApJ (2022). [arXiv:1904.07224]
3. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Identifying Interstellar Objects Trapped in the Solar System through Their Orbital Parameters," ApJL (2019). [arXiv:1811.09632]
2. Siraj, A., & Loeb, A. "Oumuamua's Geometry Could Be More Extreme than Previously Inferred," RNAAS (2019).