Suvi Gezari

Suvi Gezari

Research Professor

Contact Information

Research Interests: Supermassive black holes; nuclear transients; UV and optical time domain surveys

Education: PhD, Columbia University

Dr. Gezari’s research program harnesses the power of time domain observations to study supermassive black holes. She is a pioneer in observational studies of tidal disruption events (TDEs), luminous outbursts from the nuclei of galaxies that occur when an unlucky star is ripped apart and consumed by a central massive black hole. She has used wide-field time domain surveys to discover TDEs, including GALEX, Pan-STARRS1, the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF), the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), and soon the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope. Dr. Gezari uses follow-up observations across the electromagnetic spectrum, especially in ultraviolet (UV) and X-rays, along with spectroscopic observations of their host galaxies to classify and characterize these events, and use them as probes of accretion physics and massive black hole demographics. Dr. Gezari is involved in planning for future NASA missions. She is the science team lead for New Views of the Dynamic Universe for the UVEX: Ultraviolet Explorer medium-class mission to launch in 2030, is also a NASA-selected science team member of the Israeli UV space mission ULTRASAT to launch in 2028, and science team co-lead on tidal disruption events for the High-Energy X-ray Probe (HEX-P) X-ray probe mission concept.

Dr. Gezari is an affiliated astronomer at the Maria Mitchell Observatory on Nantucket, Massachusetts, and a member of the Aspen Center for Physics. Before arriving at the institute, Dr. Gezari was an associate professor of astronomy with tenure at the University of Maryland and the co-director of its Joint Space-Sciences Institute. She was awarded the Kavli Foundation’s Plenary Lecture at the 235th American Astronomical Society (AAS) Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, in January 2020 for her global leadership in the study of tidal disruption events, and received the University of Maryland’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences Board of Visitors Junior Faculty Award in 2016. She was a Scialog Time Domain Astrophysics Fellow in 2015, and received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award in the same year. Prior to her faculty position, she was a Hubble Fellow at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.