Jeremiah P. Ostriker

National Medal of Science

Physical Sciences

For a brilliant variety of seminal contributions to the understanding of electrolytes and other chemical systems, especially to the thermodynamics of systems in change.

For a brilliant variety of seminal contributions to the understanding of electrolytes and other chemical systems, especially to the thermodynamics of systems in change.

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Birth
April 13, 1937
Age Awarded
63
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
Sloan Digital Sky Survey
Research In Dark Energy
Awarded by
Bill Clinton
Education
University of Chicago
Harvard University
Areas of Impact
Energy & Environment
Affiliations
Princeton University
I

In 1972, Jeremiah P. Ostriker and his colleague at Princeton University, James E. Peebles developed computer simulations showing that our universe must contain an invisible mass that serves to stabilize rotating galaxies like the Milky Way —  or else Newton’s law of gravitation was wrong. Just one year later, the pair wrote a now-classic paper arguing that, “There are reasons, increasing in number and quality, to believe that the mass of ordinary galaxies may have been underestimated by a factor of 10 or more.” Decades later, Ostriker and his colleague were proven right, in what was shown to be previously undetected “dark matter”— a substance in the universe whose existence, while not directly observed, has been inferred by astrophysicists from its gravitational effects on the measurable universe. Ostriker has spent the last half century devoted to the heavens, studying dark matter and dark energy, galaxy formation and black hole growth, and the intergalactic medium — the space that exists between star systems in a galaxy. Today he is recognized as a highly influential researcher of theoretical astrophysics.

By Sara Grossman

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