Deepto Chakrabarty '88

Professor of Physics
Department Head
Research specialty is in high-energy astrophysics and the physics and astrophysics of neutron stars.
(617) 253-4801
Office: 4-304

Research Interests

Observational high-energy astrophysics, including X-ray and gamma-ray astronomy, optical astronomy, and neutron stars and black holes.

Biographic Sketch

Professor Chakrabarty was awarded a Ph.D. in Physics from Caltech in 1996, following two years at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a staff physicist working on the Berkeley Automated Supernova Search. Prior to that, he completed his S.B. in Physics at MIT in 1988.  After receiving his doctorate, he returned to MIT for a three-year appointment as a NASA Compton GRO Postdoctoral Fellow, including a short stint as a visiting fellow at Balliol College, Oxford University. In 1999, he became an assistant professor within the Department of Physics and was tenured in 2004. In 2020, he was named Associate Head of the Department. In Summer 2022, he was named the new Head of the Department.

Chakrabarty is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a legacy fellow of the American Astronomical Society.  His other awards include an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the MIT Buechner Teaching Prize in Physics, and the inaugural 2017 MITx Prize for Teaching and Learning in MOOCs for his work on the 8.01x Mechanics Series.  He recently chaired the Panel on Compact Objects and Energetic Phenomena of the Astro 2020 Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics, sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences.

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Awards & Honors

  • 2020 // Legacy Fellow of the American Astronomical Society
  • 2017 // MITx Prize for Teaching and Learning in MOOCs
  • 2011 // Fellow, American Physical Society
  • 2006 // Bruno Rossi Prize in High Energy Astrophysics, American Astronomical Society (co-recipient)
  • 2001-03 // Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship
  • 2001 // Buechner Teaching Prize in Physics, MIT "for outstanding contributions to the educational program of the MIT Department of Physics."
  • 1996-98 // NASA Compton GRO Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 1993-1995 // NASA GSRP Graduate Fellowship

Key Publications

  • “Neutron star mass measurements. I. Radio pulsars,” Thorsett SE, Chakrabarty D, ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL 512 (1): 288-299 Part 1 FEB 10 1999.

  • “Precision timing of two anomalous X-ray pulsars,” Kaspi VM, Chakrabarty D, Steinberger J, ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL 525 (1): L33-L36 Part 2 NOV 1 1999.

  • “A glitch in an anomalous X-ray pulsar,” Kaspi VM, Lackey JR, Chakrabarty D, ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL 537 (1): L31-L34 Part 2 JUL 1 2000.