David N. Spergel

Simons Foundation

Primary Section: 12, Astronomy
Secondary Section: 13, Physics
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2007)


Until July 1, I am the director of the Center for Computational Astrophysics. After July 1, I will be President of the Simons Foundation. After 30 years at Princeton, I have now retired and am full-time at the Simons Foundation. I am now he Charles Young Professor of Astronomy Emeritus on the Class of 1897 Foundation at Princeton University. I was department chair for nearly a decade. During my tenure as chair, the department was consistently ranked No. 1 by both the National Research Council and U.S. News and World Report. I am an associate faculty member in both the department of physics and the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton. I have been the primary mentor for over 32 graduate students, 35 postdoctoral fellows and 60 undergraduates, and I continue to advise and mentor graduate students at Princeton. 

Research Interests

My research interests range from the search for planets around nearby stars to the shape of the universe. Using microwave background observations from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) and the Atacama Cosmology Telescope, I have measured the age, shape and composition of the universe. Our observations have played a significant role in establishing the standard model of cosmology. I am one of the leaders of the Simons Observatory, which will include a planned millimeter-wave telescope that will allow us to take the next step in studying the microwave sky and probing the history of the universe. I am currently co-chair of the Roman Space Telescope science team. WFIRST will study the nature of dark energy, complete the demographic survey of extrasolar planets, characterize the atmospheres of nearby planets and survey the universe with more than 100 times the field of view of the Hubble Space Telescope. I have played a significant role in designing the coronagraph and in shaping the overall mission.

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