Andrew Christopher Fabian

Andrew Christopher Fabian


Date of Birth
February 20, 1948

“Andy” Fabian was born in England. He earned his B.Sc. at King's College London and his Ph.D. in 1972 at University College London. He has been at the University of Cambridge since 1973, where he has held several posts, including vice-master of Darwin College and Royal Society Research Professor of Astronomy. He is currently serving as Acting Director of the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge. He is known for his observational and theoretical research on X-ray sources, especially black holes and the disks around them and gas in clusters of galaxies. He, his colleagues, and his students have helped develop and/or interpret data from many orbiting X-ray observatories, including Uhuru (1970–1973), Copernicus (1972–1981), Ariel V (1974–1980), Einstein (1978–1981), EXOSAT (1983–1986), GINGA (1987–1991), ROSAT (1990–1999), Compton GRO (1991–2000), ASCA (1993–2001), RXTE (1995–2012), BeppoSAX (1996–2002), Chandra (1999–), XMM-Newton (1999–), INTEGRAL (2002–), Swift (2004–), Suzaku (2005–2015), and NuSTAR (2012–), and he is working on the proposed Athena mission. He has also investigated ultraviolet and gamma-ray sources. His greatest achievements are considered to be finding ways to determine the properties of the giant black holes in active galactic nuclei and explaining the cooling flows of gas surrounding giant elliptical galaxies and inhabiting clusters of galaxies. For example, his team found certain iron lines in the spectrum of a Seyfert galaxy that were taken as coming from very near the event horizon of the massive black hole at its core. He has done much to spread astronomical knowledge, both by giving popular lectures to the public and by supervising more than fifty Ph.D. students. He served as editor-in-chief of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society from 1994 to 2008.

Personal Web Page

At the University of Cambridge

Other awards

American Astronomical Society High Energy Astrophysics Division, Bruno Rossi Prize, 2001.

American Institute of Physics and American Astronomical Society, Dannie Heinemann Prize for Astrophysics, 2008.

Royal Astronomical Society, Gold medal, 2012.

Kavli Foundation, Kavli Prize for Astrophysics, 2020.

Some offices held

Royal Astronomical Society, President, 2008-2010.

Biographical materials

Fabian, Andrew, Autobiography for the Kavli Prize, 2020.

Hubble Heritage Project

"RAS Awards and Prizes – Prof. Andy Fabian," Astronomy & Geophysics 53, 1.36 (2012) [includes photo].


2016 by Sam Fabian, courtesy Prof. Fabian

2016 ASP Annual Awards Gala, photography by Marcella Gries, courtesy of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific: 1  2

Named after him

Minor Planet #25157 Fabian


Other References: Historical

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Other References: Scientific

Fabian, A.C., et al., “Hercules X-1 and Circinus X-1,” IAU Circ. 2555, 1 (1973).

Fabian, A.C., J.E. Pringle, & M.J. Rees, “Tidal capture formation of binary systems and X-ray sources in globular clusters,” MNRAS 172, 15-18 (1975).

Fabian, A.C. & P.E.J. Nulsen, “Subsonic accretion of cooling gas in clusters of galaxies,” MNRAS 180, 479-84 (1977).

Fabian, A.C., E.M. Hu, L.L. Cowie, & J. Grindlay, “The distribution and morphology of X-ray-emitting gas in the core of the Perseus cluster,” Ap.J. 248, 47-54 (1981).

Fabian, A.C., P.E.J. Nulsen, & C.R. Canizares, “Cooling flows in clusters of galaxies,” Nature 310, 733-40 (1984).

Fabian, A.C., M.J. Rees, L. Stella, & N.E. White, “X-ray fluorescence from the inner disc in Cygnus X-1,” MNRAS 238, 729-36 (1989).

Pounds, K.A., K. Nandra, G.C. Stewart, I.M. George, & A.C. Fabian, “X-ray reflection from cold matter in the nuclei of active galaxies,” Nature 344, 132, 133 (1990).

Edge, A.C., G.C. Stewart, A.C Fabian, & K.A. Arnaud, “An X-Ray Flux-Limited Sample of Clusters of Galaxies - Evidence for Evolution of the Luminosity Function,” MNRAS 245, 559-69 (1990).

George, I.M. & Andy C. Fabian, “X-ray reflection from cold matter in active galactic nuclei and X-ray binaries,” MNRAS 249, 352-67 (1991).

Ross, R.R. & A.C. Fabian, “The effects of photoionization on X-ray reflection spectra in active galactic nuclei,” MNRAS 261, 74-82 (1993).

Boehringer, H., W. Voges, A.C. Fabian, A.C. Edge, & D.M. Neumann, “A ROSAT HRI study of the interaction of the X-ray-emitting gas and radio lobes of NGC 1275,” MNRAS 264, L25-L28 (1993).

Fabian, A.C., “Cooling Flows in Clusters of Galaxies,” Ann. Rev. Astron. & Astrophys. 32, 277-318 (1994).

White, D.A. & A.C. Fabian, “Einstein Observatory evidence for the widespread baryon overdensity in clusters of galaxies,” MNRAS 273, 72-84.

Tanaka, Y., et al., “Gravitationally redshifted emission implying an accretion disk and massive black hole in the active galaxy MCG-6-30-15,” Nature 365, 659-61 (1995).

Iwasawa, K., et al., “The variable iron K emission line in MCG-6-30-15,” MNRAS 282, 1038-48 (1996).

Peres, C.B., A.C. Fabian, A.C. Edge, S.W. Allen, R.M. Johnstone, & D.A. White, “A ROSAT study of the cores of clusters of galaxies - I. Cooling flows in an X-ray flux-limited sample,” MNRAS 298, 416-432 (1998).

Ebeling, H., et al., “The ROSAT Brightest Cluster Sample – I. The compilation of the sample and the cluster log N–log S distribution,” MNRAS 301, 881-914 (1998).

Crawford, C.S., S.W. Allen, H. Ebeling, A.C. Edge, & A.C. Fabian, “The ROSAT Brightest Cluster Sample - III. Optical spectra of the central cluster galaxies,” MNRAS 306, 857-96 (1999).

Fabian, A.C., “The obscured growth of massive black holes,” MNRAS 308, L39-L43 (1999).

Fabian, A.C., et al., “Chandra imaging of the complex X-ray core of the Perseus cluster,” MNRAS 318, L65-L68 (2000).

Fabian, A.C., K. Iwasawa, C.S. Reynolds, & A.J. Young, “Broad Iron Lines in Active Galactic Nuclei,” PASP 112, 1145-61 (2000).

Peterson, J.R., et al., “X-ray imaging-spectroscopy of Abell 1835,” Astron. & Astrophys. 365, L104-L109 (2001).

Tamura, T., et al., “X-ray spectroscopy of the cluster of galaxies Abell 1795 with XMM-Newton,” Astron. & Astrophys. 365, L87-L92 (2001).

Fabian, A.C., “A long hard look at MCG-6-30-15 with XMM-Newton,” MNRAS 335, L1-L5 (2002).

Fabian, A.C., et al., “A deep Chandra observation of the Perseus cluster: shocks and ripples,” MNRAS 344, L43-L47 (2003).

Miniutti, G. & A.C. Fabrian, “A light bending model for the X-ray temporal and spectral properties of accreting black holes,” MNRAS 349, 1435-48 (2004).

Allen, S.W., R. W. Schmidt, H. Ebeling, A.C. Fabian, & L. van Speybroeck, “Constraints on dark energy from Chandra observations of the largest relaxed galaxy clusters,” MNRAS 353, 457-67 (2004).

Ross, R.R. & A.C. Fabian, “A comprehensive range of X-ray ionized-reflection models,” MNRAS 358, 211-216 (2005).

Fabian, A.C., et al., “A very deep Chandra observation of the Perseus cluster: shocks, ripples and conduction,” MNRAS 366, 417-28 (2006).

Peterson, J. R. & A.C. Fabian, “X-ray spectroscopy of cooling clusters,” Physics Reports 427, 1-39 (2006).

Allen, S.W., R.J.H. Dunn, A.C. Fabian, G.B. Taylor, & C.S. Reynolds, “The relation between accretion rate and jet power in X-ray luminous elliptical galaxies,” MNRAS 372, 21-30 (2006).

Mitsuda, Kazuhisa, et. al., “The X-Ray Observatory Suzaku,” Pubs. Astron. Soc. Japan 59, 1-7 (2007).

Kaiser, Christian R. & A.C. Fabian, “Active galactic nuclei: Are AGN cosmic thermostats?,” Astronomy & Geophysics 47, 4.10-4.14 (2007).

Allen, S.W., et al., “Improved constraints on dark energy from Chandra X-ray observations of the largest relaxed galaxy clusters,” MNRAS 383, 879-96 (2008).

Xue, Y.Q., et al., “The Chandra Deep Field-South Survey: 4 Ms Source Catalogs,” Ap.J. Supp. 195, id10 (2011).

Fabian, A.C., “Observational Evidence of Active Galactic Nuclei Feedback,” Ann. Rev. Astron. & Astrophys. 50, 455-89 (2012).

Harrison, Fiona A., et al., “The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) High-energy X-Ray Mission,” Ap.J. 770, id103 (2013).

Sanders, J.S., A.C. Fabian, H.R. Russell, S.A. Walker, & K.M. Blundell, “Detecting edges in the X-ray surface brightness of galaxy clusters,” MNRAS 460, 1898-1911 (2016).

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Other Works: Popularizations, History, Textbooks , etc.

“Astrophysical Black Holes Part I,” lecture at National Taiwan University, 2013 [video]