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Anna Frebel
Anna Frebel MIT Physics Dept.jpg
Anna Frebel (2022)
Born 1980 (age 43–44)
Berlin, Germany
Nationality German
Alma mater Australian National University
Known for Discovering the oldest stars in the universe
Scientific career
Fields Astronomy
Institutions MIT
Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
University of Texas

Anna Frebel (born 1980 in Berlin) is a German astronomer working on discovering the oldest stars in the universe.


Anna Frebel grew up in Göttingen, Germany. After finishing high school, she began studying physics in Freiburg im Breisgau but did not finish the physics program and did not obtain a physics degree there. Instead she enrolled in an astronomy program in Australia, where she obtained a PhD in Astronomy from the Australian National University's Mount Stromlo Observatory in Canberra. Shortly thereafter, a W. J. McDonald Postdoctoral Fellowship brought her to the University of Texas at Austin in 2006, where she continued her studies.

From 2009 to 2011, she was a Clay Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge (MA).

In 2012 she moved to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, achieving promotion to full professor in 2022.


In 2005, Frebel discovered the star HE 1327-2326, which is the most iron-deficient star, stemming from a time very shortly after the Big Bang. In 2007 she also discovered the red giant star HE 1523-0901, which is about 13.2 billion years old.

Awards and honors

  • 2007: Charlene Heisler Prize for the best astronomy PhD in 2006 in Australia
  • 2009: Opening presentation XLAB Science Festival, Göttingen
  • 2009: Ludwig Biermann Award (Young Astronomer Award) of the German Astronomical Society
  • 2010: Annie J. Cannon Award of the American Astronomical Society
  • 2010: Lise Meitner Lecturer, Göttingen and Innsbruck
  • 2011: Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow, National Academy of Sciences
  • 2022: Fellow of the American Physical Society

Publications (selection)

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Anna Frebel para niños

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