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Raffaella Margutti

Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy
CIERA Core Astronomy Faculty Member


Areas of Focus

  • Electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational wave sources
  • Mergers of neutron stars and black holes
  • Gamma-ray bursts
  • Engine driven supernovae
  • Type 1-A supernovae
  • Super-luminous supernovae
  • Tidal Disruption Events


  • Uses observations of transient astrophysical phenomena including stellar explosions and stellar tidal disruptions by supermassive black holes
  • Investigates the physics of explosive events by combining broad-band observations across the electromagnetic spectrum, including X-ray, ultraviolet (UV), optical, infrared (IR) and radio
  • The primary goal of her research is to understand the nature of the physical processes that regulate such dramatic displays


Before coming to Northwestern, Dr. Margutti was a research associate at New York University, a visiting scientist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, a Harvard Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Astrophysics and a “Swift” post-doc at the INAF Brera Observatory. Now, her research occupies a good bit of her time, but she is still head of the gravitational wave panel of LSST (large synoptic surveying telescope) being built in Chile (to be completed in 2020 or 2021). Dr. Margutti was named one of 14 international early-career researchers with exceptional promise in 2019 by CIFAR, a Canadian-based global charitable organization that “convenes extraordinary minds to address the most important questions facing science and humanity.” She also was awarded the Sloan Research Fellowship in 2019, one of the most competitive and prestigious awards available to early career researchers. In 2018, Dr. Margutti’s paper, The Binary Neutron Star Event LIGO/Virgo GW170817 160 Days after Merger: Synchrotron Emission across the Electromagnetic Spectrum, was named by the American Astronomical Society as one of their top ten most cited papers in 2018.