Erin Kara


Erin Amira Kara

Associate Professor of Physics, MIT

Class of 1958 Career Development Chair

MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research 


(617) 253-2572

McNair Building, 37-626a 

Bio Sketch

I am an Associate Professor at the MIT Department of Physics and the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. My fundamental research goal is to understand how black holes form, grow and affect their environments, and I use a range of observational techniques to answer that question.  Find out more on the Research Page. I also work to develop new and future space missions; I'm the Deputy Principal Investigator of the AXIS Probe Mission Concept, which we hope to launch in 2032. I am a NASA-selected Participating Scientist on several approved international space missions, including the newly launched XRISM Mission (focusing on high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy), the ULTRASAT mission (a UV all-sky time domain surveyor set to launch in 2027) and the LISA Observatory (our first low-frequency gravitational wave observatory to launch in 2035).  

I grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and obtained my B. A. in physics from Barnard College of Columbia University in 2011. From NYC, I moved to the United Kingdom on a Gates Cambridge Scholarship to study for a Masters and a PhD from the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge. In 2015, I moved back to the U.S. for a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Maryland and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. In 2018, I became the Neil Gehrels Prize Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Maryland, and soon after, started as an Assistant Professor at MIT July 2019. 

Outside of work, you can find me running the Somerville Community Path, cycling the Minuteman Trail, or playing music (violin and vocals) with friends, in preparation for our annual gig at Somerville Porchfest. 

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