Kazunori (aka Kazu) Akiyama, Astrophysicist, Ph.D. in Astronomy
National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Jansky Fellow
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Haystack Observatory
Harvard University, Black Hole Initiative, Affiliate
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Special Visiting Researcher
My research has focused on black holes --- the most compact objects in the Universe. In particular, I have studied super-massive black holes as laboratories for testing Einstein's General Relativity, and for understanding extremely energetic astrophysical phenomena powered by black holes.
I primarily use the technique of very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) to observe black holes at extremely high angular resolutions. In particular, over the last several years, I have been working on the Event Horizon Telescope, which is a millimeter-wavelength global VLBI array with an angular resolution corresponding to a few Schwarzschild radii of black holes (smaller than their apparent diameter!) in the centers of our Milky Way galaxy and the nearby elliptical galaxy M87.
As part of the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, I have made substantial contributions toward obtaining the first image of the black holes. For instance, with the Event Horizon Telescope, I led a project resolving the Schwarzschild-radius scale structure in the immediate vicinity of the supermassive black hole in M87, for the first time when it was in an active state in very-high-energy gamma-ray emission.
Furthermore, my research is also focused on future Event Horizon Telescope observations that will be capable of imaging black holes and surrounding magnetized plasma. I have been developing new imaging techniques using state-of-art statistical techniques like sparse sampling (or compressed sensing), enabling the Event Horizon Telescope to obtain high-quality black-hole images.
The targets of my research have been expanding beyond the Event Horizon Telescope project and black holes. With techniques and utilities developed for the Event Horizon Telescope, I have studied fast radio bursts (FRBs), and relativistic jets powered by supermassive black holes. I also work with astrophysicists working on various objects (e.g. protoplanetary disks, stars, and galaxies) and other techniques (e.g. Faraday Tomography) as applications of our imaging techniques.
I was born and educated in Japan. I received my undergraduate degree in Physics from Hokkaido University in 2010. Then, I completed my M.Sc and Ph.D. programs in Astronomy at the University of Tokyo in 2012 and 2015, respectively, under the supervision of Prof. Mareki Honma at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) Mizusawa VLBI Observatory. I started to work at my current institution MIT Haystack Observatory as a postdoctoral fellow in 2015.
|kakiyama (at) mit (dot) edu|
|Office Location||MIT Haystack Observatory, 99 Millstone Rd, Westford, MA 01886|