David Spergel

Emeritus Professor of Astrophysical Sciences
Emeritus Charles A. Young Professor of Astronomy on the Class of 1897 Foundation
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I am a theoretical astrophysicist who also works closely with data. My interests range from the search for planets around nearby stars to the shape of the universe.

For much of the past two decades, I have worked on the interpretation and analysis of microwave background data. First, observations from the WMAP Satellite and now measurements from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope. We used this data to measure the age, shape, and basic properties of the universe and help establish the standard model of cosmology.

I am co-chair of the WFIRST science team. WFIRST should have a deep and broad impact on our understanding of the universe. We are designing it to both make precision cosmology measurements and detect and characterize exoplanets. I have been involved in many different aspects of the mission.

I also serve as chair of the National Academy of Sciences’ Space Studies Board. As Chair, I am involved in advising the Federal government on various aspects of its civilian space program.

I have had the pleasure of acting as the primary mentor for over 100 PhD thesis students, postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate senior thesis students. Many of my students are now playing leading roles in astrophysics.

Since September 2016, I have been splitting my time between Princeton and the Flatiron Institute in NY. I am the Founding Director of the new Center for Computational Astrophysics. The CCA is serving as a hub for astrophysics activities in the region and am encouraging my students and postdocs to visit the CCA and the CCA postdoctoral fellows to spend time in Princeton.

I usually work in Princeton during the beginning of each week and am in NY at the end of the week.