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Neta A. Bahcall

Eugene Higgins Professor of Astrophysics

Neta A. Bahcall is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Astrophysics at Princeton University.  She is Director of the  Undergraduate Program in Astrophysics, and past Director of the Council on Science and Technology of Princeton University.  Bahcall's research interests are:

  • Observational Cosmology
  • Dark Matter and the Mass Density of the Universe; Dark Energy
  • Tracing Cosmic Distribution of Dark Matter, Baryons, Stars, and Light
  • Large-Scale Structure of the Universe
  • Clusters of Galaxies; Formation and Evolution of Structure
  • Quasars and Their Environment; Supermassive Black-Holes

Bahcall's work focuses on addressing questions such as:  What is the large-scale structure of our Universe? How did structure form and evolve? How much dark matter exists in the Universe and where is it located? What is the nature of the mysterious dark energy? What is the fate of our Universe and it's expansion? Bahcall uses different methods and a variety of tracers to answer these questions, including galaxies, clusters of galaxies, superclusters, and quasars. She combines observational data from large-scale surveys (such as the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and others) and other observations to determine the structure in the universe and its properties and compare it with those expected from cosmological simulations;  Bahcall and colleagues' determination of properties such as the cluster correlation function, the cluster mass function and its evolution, the mass-to-light function from galaxies to superclusters, the geometrical shape of clusters and of large-scale structure have provided powerful constraints on cosmology; they were among the first to show that the mass-density of the universe is sub-critical with only ~25% of the mass needed to halt the cosmic expansion. This is now part of the stanford LCDM cosmology.  Bahcall works closely with students and postdoctoral fellows; their work is summarized in over 300 scientific publications (see link below).  Bahcall is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Distinguished Research Chair at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, past Vice-President and Councilor of the American Astronomical Society, Century Lecturer of the AAS, and Chair and member of various NASA, NSF, and Congressional committees.  

Undergraduate Representative

Neta A. Bahcall

Eugene Higgins Professor of Astronomy, Professor of Astrophysical Sciences.
Home Department:
Astrophysical Sciences
Office Location:
137 Peyton Hall
Campus Phone: 609-258-6065
Voice Mailbox: 86065
Campus Fax: 609-258-8226

E-mail: Neta Bahcall

Neta's CV