Faculty Type: 
Active Faculty
Associate Professor
Additional Titles: 
Associate Professor, SLAC (KIPAC)

Offices: Physics/Astrophysics Bldg. Room 208 on campus and 226 at the Fred Kavli building on the SLAC campus.

2575 Sand Hill Rd
Mailstop 0029
Menlo Park, California 94025

Phone Number: 
650-723-0112; 650-926-2421
Contact Email: 
Support Staff: 


What were the first objects that formed in the Universe?

Prof. Abel's group explores the first billion years of cosmic history using ab initio supercomputer calculations.  He has shown from first principles that the very first luminous objects are very massive stars and has developed novel numerical algorithms using adaptive-mesh-refinement simulations that capture over 14 orders of magnitude in length and time scales.  He currently continues his work on the first stars and first galaxies and their role in chemical enrichment and cosmological reionization.  His group studies any of the first objects to form in the universe:  first stars, first supernovae, first HII regions, first magnetic fields, first heavy elements, and so on.  Abel also heads the KIPAC computational physics department, which provides super-computing resources and algorithmic advice to members of KIPAC. Most recently he is pioneering novel numerical algorithms to study collisionless fluids such as dark matter which makes up most of the mass in the Universe as well as astrophysical and terrestrial plasmas. 

Career History

  • M.A. 1998, Univ. of Regensburg
  • Ph.D. 2000, Ludwig Maxemillian University Munich
  • Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Astrophysics and Harvard College Observatory, Cambridge, MA 1999-2001
  • Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK 2001
  • Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University 2002-2004
  • Associate Professor, Pennsylvania State University 2004
  • Associate Professor, Stanford University Physics Department, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and KIPAC (Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology), 9/2004-present.
  • Acting Director, Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, 8/2013-


  • Wempe Prize, Astrophysical Institute Potsdam 2001
  • CAREER Award, National Science Foundation 2002
  • Frederick Emmons Terman Fellowship, 2007-2010
  • Lagrange Award, ILP, Paris 2013