Joseph Gelfand's scholarly focus is core collapse supernovae — the cosmic explosions believed to mark the death of the most massive stars, in particular the neutron stars and pulsar wind nebulae formed in these events. More broadly, he studies radio and X-ray active galactic nuclei, high redshift radio galaxies, the acceleration and propagation of cosmic rays, and the evolution of massive stars. He is the lead author of a series of peer-reviewed articles in The Astrophysical Journal. He moves to NYU Abu Dhabi from NYU's New York campus, where he was a National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow. Gelfand was the recipient of a Loomis Research Grant at Harvard and, as an undergraduate at Columbia University in New York, was a Rabi Scholar and the recipient of a Robert C. Byrd College Scholarship.
Gelfand is collaborating with other science professors at NYU Abu Dhabi to develop the innovative Foundations of Science cross-disciplinary curriculum for science and engineering majors and will be co-teaching the physics component. As a teaching fellow at both Harvard and Columbia, he taught or assisted teaching courses on introductory physics, advanced astronomy, and several courses for non-majors. Additionally, he has hosted a weekly radio show devoted to recent astronomical discoveries, highlighting the basic theories underlying modern physics, the recent thinking in the field, and questions that astronomers are working to answer, and looking to continue such public outreach in Abu Dhabi. Gelfand holds his Ph.D. and an A.M. in astronomy from Harvard University and a B.A. in physics, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia University.