Rebolo, Rafael


Rafael Rebolo

Director of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC).

Born in Cartagena (1961), he graduated in Physics from the University of Granada in 1984 and obtained his doctorate in astrophysics from the University of La Laguna in 1987.

Since 1984 he is researcher at the IAC, where he served as head of the Research Division between 1997 and 1999. He is CSIC Professor of Research in Physical Science since 1998. Since 2002 he is member of the Max Planck Society and External Professor at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg. Since October 2013 he has been appointed the director of Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias.

He has developed research projects in cosmology, in stellar physics and exoplanets, involving the study of the cosmic microwave background, the characterization of sub-stellar objects and black holes and, more recently, the search for Earth-like exoplanets. He is co-author of over 400 articles published in international journals of astrophysics (including ten in Nature and Science), which have accumulated more than 30,000 citations in the scientific literature. He has supervised or co-supervised 20 doctoral PhD theses.

Prof. Rebolo and his team are responsible for the discovery in 1995 of the first brown dwarfs (objects with properties intermediate between stars and giant planets of which there are tens of billions in our galaxy) and several giant extrasolar planets in 2000, as well as providing empirical evidence in 1999 of the physical connection between supernovae and black holes. He has been a pioneer in Spain in the experimental research of the cosmic microwave background and has developed at the Observatorio del Teide several experiments in collaboration with the Universities of Manchester and Cambridge.

He leads the QUIJOTE consortium for measuring the polarization of the cosmic microwave background with telescopes in Tenerife. He is co-director of a high-precision spectrograph “ESPRESSO” for detecting exo-Earths with the 8 m VLT telescopes in Chile, and the AOLI project for high spatial resolution imaging on the 4.2 m William Herschel telescope, at the ORM in La Palma, Canary Islands. He is co-investigator of the European Space Agency’s Planck and Euclid space missions, and member of the Board of the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) and the Cherenkov Telescope Array. He was also a member of the science committee of the 40 m E-ELT telescope, the steering committees of several European networks in astronomy (OPTICON; EARA) and the US (AURA) and the Scientific Committee “Science Vision for European Astronomy” and co-chair of the “Stars and Planets” panel. He is Scientific director of the “IAC: Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence” program since 2011.

He has participated in several dozen scientific committees of conferences, has directed several international schools in astrophysics and has delivered research seminars in more than 30 institutes and centers in Spain, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, USA, Greece, Switzerland, Chile, Belgium, China and Japan.

He is a corresponding member of the Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences of Spain, Academician of the Academy of Science and Engineering Lanzarote, Honorary Academician of the Academy of Sciences of the Region of Murcia, Doctor Honoris Causa from the Polytechnic University of Cartagena.

He was awarded, among other, the Iberdrola Prize of Science and Technology, the Jaime I Research Prize, the Canary Islands Prize for Research and the Jules Janssen Prize of the French Astronomical Society.