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Professor Alex Filippenko, Ph.D.

Professor Alex Filippenko
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • California Institute of Technology
Perhaps the next time you go out to the countryside, you will ponder the magnificence of the Universe and its contents—and the fact that, through careful experiments, observations, and thought, humans are coming to a good understanding of what makes it all tick.

Dr. Alex Filippenko is Professor of Astronomy and the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. He earned his B.A. in Physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his Ph.D. in Astronomy from the California Institute of Technology.

Dr. Filippenko's research accomplishments, documented in more than 500 scientific publications and 600 abstracts and astronomical circulars, are among the most highly cited in the world. Science magazine credited two international teams of astronomers (on which he was the only coauthor contributing to both teams) with the top "Science Breakthrough of 1998" for research on exploding stars (supernovae), which shows that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, propelled by mysterious "dark energy." Professor Filippenko received a share of the 2007 Gruber Cosmology Prize for this discovery, work that went on to receive the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. Professor Filippenko also leads the world's most successful robotic search for exploding stars.

Dr. Filippenko was elected in 2009 to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors accorded to a U.S. scientist. He has also been recognized with several major awards, including the 2010 Richard H. Emmons Award for excellence in the teaching of college-level introductory astronomy for non-science majors from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the 2007 Richtmyer Memorial Award of the American Association of Physics Teachers, the 1997 Robert M. Petrie Prize of the Canadian Astronomical Society, and the 1992 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize of the American Astronomical Society. He was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2001 and a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar in 2002.

In 2006, he was honored nationally as the "Outstanding Doctoral and Research Universities Professor of the Year" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

At UC Berkeley, Dr. Filippenko's teaching awards include the Donald S. Noyce Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in the Physical Sciences and the Distinguished Teaching Award. He was also voted the Best Professor on Campus nine times in student polls.

Dr. Filippenko is coauthor of The Cosmos: Astronomy in the New Millennium, now in its 4th edition (2013), and winner of the 2001 Texty Excellence Award for best new textbook in the physical sciences. He has played a prominent role in numerous television documentaries, including about 40 episodes spanning six seasons of The Universe on The History Channel.


"Alex Filippenko sets the standard of what great teaching is all about. May we all be willing to learn with the same level of enthusiasm he shows us in these lectures."


"Professor Filippenko is a master of this information, and his enthusiasm is contagious! Highly recommended!!"


"Professor Alex Filippenko delivers the lectures with passion, honesty and he uses helpful visual aids in understanding complex theories. By the end of the course, he is a close friend."

3 Courses

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3 Courses

  1. Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition

    Understanding the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, 2nd Edition

    Alex Filippenko, Ph.D.
    Starting at $679.95 Starting at $679.95 $799.95 $679.95$799.95
    In 96 richly illustrated half-hour lectures you will survey the main concepts, methods, and discoveries in astronomy—from the constellations drawn by the ancients, to the latest reports from planetary probes in our Solar System and the most recent images offered by telescopes probing the farthest frontiers of space and time. While updating this course, Professor Alex Filippenko added hundreds of images,...
  2. Skywatching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders Sale

    Skywatching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders

    Alex Filippenko, Ph.D.
    Save up to $160.00 Starting at $49.95 $59.95 $49.95$59.95
    Get an unparalleled visual guide to nature's most mysterious and beautiful offerings with Skywatching: Seeing and Understanding Cosmic Wonders. With these twelve 45-minute lectures, award-winning astronomer and Professor Alex Filippenko has crafted a visually stunning tour of the sky's most dazzling displays, including clouds, sunsets, stars, planets, meteors, and solar eclipses. One of our most intensively...
  3. Black Holes Explained

    Black Holes Explained

    Alex Filippenko, Ph.D.
    Starting at $199.95 Starting at $199.95 $199.95 $199.95$199.95
    Nearly everyone has heard of black holes, but few people outside of complex scientific fields understand their true nature and their implications for our universe. Black Holes Explained finally makes this awe-inspiring cosmological subject graspable—in just 12 lavishly illustrated lectures. You'll discover the secrets of photon spheres, event horizons, Einstein rings, and other concepts involved in the study...