Professor Hagai Netzer was born in Israel in 1945, completed his B.Sc. in Physics, at Tel Aviv University, in 1972, and his Ph.D. in Astronomy, at Sussex University, in 1975. He has been a faculty member of the School of Physics and Astronomy, at Tel-Aviv University, since 1977, a member of the university senate since 1987, and the first incumbent of the Jack Adler Chair of Extragalactic Astronomy (1994-2011). Over the years he chaired the Department of Astrophysics at Tel Aviv University and was the director of the Wise Observatory, the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Institute of Astronomy, and the International Institute for Experimental Astrophysics. Since 2009 he is Professor Emeritus at Tel-Aviv University.
Professor Netzer studies quasars and Active Galactic Nuclei, star-forming galaxies, and massive black holes. The research combines observational and theoretical aspects and focuses on the physics of astronomical gas and dust, star-formation-related processes, and accretion onto black holes. The observations make use of many telescopes and various wavelength bands including the Wise Observatory 1m telescope (optical wavelengths), the VLT (optical and NIR), the Hubble Space Telescope (UV and optical), Chandra and XMM (X-ray), Herschel (FIR), and ALMA (mm and sub-mm wavelengths).
Netzer has held visiting professorships and research positions at other institutions including the University of Texas, the University of California, the Ohio State University, the University of London, Harvard University, Columbia University, the Royal Greenwich Observatory, the Anglo-Australian Observatory, the Max-Planck Institute in Garching, RIKEN in Tokyo, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Nasa/Goddard Space Flight Center. He also held various public positions related to science education and the promotion of science in Israel. Netzer is an Associate of the Royal Astronomical Society (2003) and a Fellow of the Israel Physical Society (2018). He won he L.Meitner-A. V. Humboldt Research Award in Germany (2005) and the Weizmann Prize in Israel (2005).
Netzer published more than 300 papers in refereed scientific journals and seven books, in Hebrew and in English, on the teaching of Astronomy from elementary school to university level, and popular science books on the quest for life in the Universe.