Peter Goldreich

Peter Goldreich

Peter Goldreich in 1980
Born (1939-07-14) July 14, 1939
Fields Astronomy and Astrophysics
Institutions Caltech
Institute for Advanced Study
Alma mater Cornell University
Doctoral advisor Thomas Gold
Notable awards

Chapman Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1985)[1]
Brouwer Award (1986)
Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1993)[2][3]
National Medal of Science (1995)

Shaw Prize (2007)

Peter Goldreich (born July 14, 1939) is an American astrophysicist whose research focuses on celestial mechanics, planetary rings, helioseismology and neutron stars.[4] He is currently the Lee DuBridge Professor of Astrophysics and Planetary Physics at California Institute of Technology. Since 2005 he has also been a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.[5]<ref = name = "IASLETTER">"PETER GOLDREICH APPOINTED FACULTY MEMBER IN THE SCHOOL OF NATURAL SCIENCES". </ref> Asteroid 3805 Goldreich is named after him.[6]


Goldreich received a bachelor of science in engineering physics from Cornell University in 1960, and obtained a Ph.D. from Cornell in 1963 under the supervision of Thomas Gold.[7][8][9][10] In 1963 and 1964 Goldreich was a postdoctoral fellow at Cambridge University.[11] From 1964 to 1966 he was an Assistant Professor of Astronomy & Geophysics at UCLA. Goldreich joined the faculty at Caltech in 1966 as an associate professor.[8][12] He later became a full professor in 1969 while remaining at Caltech, and in 1981 he became the Lee A. DuBridge Professor of Astrophysics & Planetary Physics also at Caltech.[8] He also sits on the Board of Adjudicators for the Shaw Prize, and the selection committee for Astronomy Prizes.

Scientific accomplishments

Goldreich and Alar Toomre first described the process of polar wander in a 1969 paper, although evidence of paleomagnetism was not discovered until later.[13] Goldreich collaborated with George Abell to conclude that planetary nebulae evolved from red giant stars, a view that is now widely accepted.[14][15] In 1979 Goldreich, along with Scott Tremaine predicted that Saturn's F ring was maintained by shepherd moons, a prediction that would be confirmed by observations in 1980.[16][17][18][19] They also predicted that Uranus' rings were held in place by similar shepherd moons, a prediction that was confirmed in 1986.[20] Goldreich, along with Tremaine predicted planetary migration in 1980, which would later be invoked to explain hot jupiters.[21][22][23]

Awards and honors

In 1995, Goldreich received the National Medal of Science for "his profound and lasting contributions to planetary sciences and astrophysics, providing fundamental theoretical insights for understanding the rotation of planets, the dynamics of planetary rings, pulsars, astrophysical masers, the spiral arms of galaxies, and the oscillations of the Sun".[2]<ref = name = "IASLETTER" />[27][28]

Goldreich was awarded the Grande Médaille of the French Academy of Science in 2006 for his numerous contributions in the field of Astrophysics.[10][12][29][30][31]

Goldreich received the 2007 Shaw Prize in Astronomy "in recognition of his lifetime achievements in theoretical astrophysics and planetary sciences".[32]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Origins Institute - Public Lectures - Peter Goldreich".
  2. 1 2 "Professor of astrophysics to give lecture series on planets".
  3. "Caltech Astronomy : Peter Goldreich's Research Interests".
  4. "L'Académie des Sciences remet la Grande Médaille 2006 à l'astrophysicien américain Peter Goldreich".
  5. "Citation for (3805)". Minor Planet Center.
  6. "Institute for Advanced Study: Faculty and Emeriti: Goldreich".
  7. 1 2 3 "Peter Goldreich".
  8. "Random Samples".
  9. 1 2 "PMA Division News Honors & Awards".
  10. "Prof. Peter Goldreich: Lee A. DuBridge Professor of Astrophysics & Planetary Physics, Caltech".
  11. 1 2 "Archives for Honors and Awards".
  12. "Did the Dinosaurs Live on a Topsy-Turvy Earth?".
  13. "University of California: In Memoriam, 1985".
  14. "The Stars by Night and Day".
  15. "Historical Background of Saturn's Rings".
  16. "Chaos Seen in Movement of Ring-Herding Moons of Saturn".
  17. "New Clues Emerge in Mystery of Planetary Rings". The New York Times. December 8, 1999. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  18. "Voyager was on target again; in the latest unmanned triumph, Voyager 2 surveyed Uranus and sent back a real bull's-eye".
  19. "Cosmologist Scott Tremaine receives two honors".
  20. "The three first giant exoplanets".
  22. "Worlds Around Other Stars Shake Planet Birth Theory".
  23. "California Scientist of the Year Award Recipients".
  25. "Fellowship of the Royal Society : Current Foreign Members". Royal Society. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  26. "The President's National Medal of Science: Recipient Details".
  28. "French Academy of Science awards Grand Medal to astrophysicist Peter Goldreich".
  29. "Archives for Honors and Awards" (PDF).
  30. "Institute for Advanced Study: The Institute Letter:".
  31. "The Shaw Prize - Peter Goldreich - Announcement and Citation". Retrieved 2007-06-14.
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