DIMITAR D. SASSELOV is Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University and Director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative.
Sasselov has been a professor at Harvard since 1998. He was born in Bulgaria, and was educated at Sofia University, where he received his Ph.D. in Physics in 1988, almost concurrently working on his degree at the University of Torsonto, Canada, where he received his Ph.D. in Astronomy in 1990.
His research explores the many modes of interaction between radiation and matter: from the evolution of hydrogen and helium in the early universe to the study of the structure of stars. He is very fond of unstable stars—ones that pulsate regularly and allow us to determine distances to other galaxies. Most recently his research has led him to explore the nature of planets orbiting other stars. He has discovered a few such planets with novel techniques that he hopes to use to find planets like Earth.
He is the founder and director of the new Harvard Origins of Life Initiative—a multidisciplinary center bridging scientists in the physical and in the life sciences, intent to study the transition from chemistry to life and its place in the context of the Universe.
He is the author of The Life of Super-Earths:How the Hunt for Alien Worlds and Artificial Cells Will Revolutionize Life on Our Planet.