Prof. Rennan Barkana

School of Physics and Astronomy
ביה"ס לפיזיקה ואסטרונומיה סגל אקדמי בכיר
Prof. Rennan Barkana
Phone: 03-6405993
Fax: 03-6408179
Office: Kaplun, 111


Prof. Rennan Barkana studies the era of the formation of the first stars in the Universe. He constructs models and simulations in order to predict the properties of the galaxies in which the first stars and black holes formed, and studies ways to observe them, especially with radio waves from hydrogen at a wavelength of 21 cm.


In 2012 he predicted a new observational pattern from the first stars, from the time when the Universe was only 1% of its current age. Another ground-breaking study in 2014 predicted the observational signature of the first black holes in the earliest galaxies as a result of heating of the cosmic gas, when the Universe was half a billion years old. In 2018 he showed that a surprising radio-wave signal from the cosmic dawn could be explained by an interaction through which the dark matter cooled the early cosmic gas; if this discovery is confirmed by further observations, it will mark a milestone in physics: the first direct signature from the mysterious dark matter that makes up most of the matter in the Universe.

Publication summary

Prof. Rennan Barkana has published 100 papers in leading scientific journals, with 8,600 citations. This includes 5 in Nature and Science magazines, 4 in Physical Review Letters, two reviews in Physics Reports, a review in Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and a book: The Encyclopedia of Cosmology, Volume 1: ``Galaxy Formation and Evolution''.

Academic Appointments

  • Postdoctoral Member, Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ, USA), 1997-2000

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (Toronto, Canada), 2000-2001

  • Senior Lecturer, Tel Aviv University, 2001-2009

  • Visiting Associate Professor, University of Tokyo (Japan), 2007-2008

  • Moore Distinguished Scholar, Caltech (CA, USA), 2008

  • Associate Professor, Tel Aviv University, 2009 – 2015

  • Lagrange Award winner, Institut D'Astrophysique de Paris (IAP), France, 2015

  • Leverhulme Visiting Professor, and Visiting Fellow of Mansfield College, University of Oxford, UK, 2015-2016

  • Visiting Professor, The Perimeter Institute, Canada

  • Head of the Department of Astrophysics, Tel Aviv University, 2016-2020

  • Professor, Tel Aviv University, 2015-present

Awards and Prizes

  • B.A. Summa Cum Laude (and with honors), University of Pennsylvania, 1993

  • Compton Fellowship, MIT, 1993-1995

  • Alon Fellowship, Israeli Council of Higher Education, 2001-2004

  • Moore Distinguished Scholar, Caltech (CA, USA), 2008

  • Fellowship, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 2007-2008

  • Lagrange Award, Institute Lagrange de Paris (ILP), France, 2015

  • Leverhulme Visiting Professorship, Leverhulme Trust (UK), 2015

  • Visiting Fellowship, Mansfield College, University of Oxford (UK)

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