Daniel Eisenstein

Harvard University


Primary Section: 12, Astronomy
Secondary Section: 13, Physics
Membership Type: Member (elected 2014)

Biosketch

Daniel Eisenstein is Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University.He is a cosmologist recognized for his work in the theoretical and observational study of the large-scale structure of the Universe.Eisenstein was born in 1970 and grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, and then Champaign, IL. He received his AB in Physics from Princeton University in 1992 and his PhD in Physics from Harvard University in 1996. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study and then a NASA Hubble fellow at the University of Chicago. He joined the astronomy faculty at the University of Arizona in 2001 and moved to Harvard University in 2010. He is a member of several large astronomical consortia, most notably the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. He has served as Director of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey III since 2007. Eisenstein received the Shaw Prize in Astronomy in 2014 for his prominent role in the development of the baryon acoustic oscillation method, which measures the cosmic expansion history by the use of relic imprints of sound waves from the early Universe. He chaired the National Science Foundation Division of Astronomy Portfolio Review in 2012. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2014.

Research Interests

Daniel Eisenstein works on a wide range of topics in cosmology and extragalactic astronomy, with particular interests in the large-scale structure of the Universe, wide-field spectroscopic surveys, and opportunities of large statistical data sets in astronomy. His largest effort has been in the use of the relic imprint of the baryon acoustic oscillations of the early Universe to provide a robust method for the measurement of the cosmic distance scale and the study of dark energy. He has conducted extensive theoretical and numerical investigations of the method and led the observational pursuit of this weak but important signature in the clustering of galaxies. The acoustic oscillations are now a central feature of several ambitious new galaxy surveys, with the goal of measuring cosmic distances to approaching 0.1% accuracy. Eisenstein has been active in the design, observation, and analysis of several large extragalactic surveys that provide detailed three-dimensional maps of the Universe. Through modern cosmological theory and simulations, the statistical clustering in these maps provides a powerful window to the study of the composition of the Universe and the evolution of galaxies.

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