The Bruce Medalists


  Photo 1970, courtesy Prof. Peebles
Philip James Edwin Peebles
25 April 1935 1995 Bruce Medalist

Jim Peebles was born in Winnipeg and graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1958. He then went to Princeton University as a graduate student in physics, and he has been there ever since, currently as Albert Einstein Professor of Science Emeritus. With Robert Dicke and others he predicted the existence of the cosmic background radiation (previously predicted by Ralph Alpher and Robert Herman) and planned to seek it just before it was found by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson. He has investigated characteristics of this radiation and how it may be used to constrain models of the universe. He has led statistical studies of clustering and superclustering of galaxies. He has calculated the universal abundances of helium and other light elements, demonstrating agreement between big bang theory and observation. He has provided evidence of the existence of large quantities of dark matter in the haloes of galaxies, and he continues to work on the origin of galaxies. Peebles was one of the first to resurrect Einstein’s cosmological constant, suggesting it was needed in the 1980s. His books on physical cosmology have had a significant impact in convincing physicists that the time has come to study cosmology as a respectable branch of physics.

Personal Web Page
At Princeton University

Presentation of Bruce medal
Mercury 24, 5, 6 (1995).

Other awards
American Astronomical Society, Henry Norris Russell Lectureship, 1993.
American Institute of Physics & American Astronomical Society, Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics, 1982.
Peter Gruber Foundation, Cosmology Prize, 2000. (report in Physics Today)
National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Jansky Prize, 1997.
Royal Astronomical Society, Eddington medal, 1981, presented by A.W. Wolfendale, QJRAS 22, 350-51 (1981); Gold medal, 1998.
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Crafoord prize, 2005
Shaw Prize Foundation, Shaw Prize, 2004.

Biographical materials
Peebles, James, interview with Alan Lightman, in Lightman, Alan & Roberta Brawer, Origins: The Lives and Worlds of Modern Cosmologists (Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge, MA, 1990), pp. 214-231.
Peebles, James, Autobiography on receipt of the Shaw Prize
Peebles, James, interview with Harry Kreisler, 56-minute video, 2006.
Peebles, P.J.E., “Seeing Cosmology Grow,” Annu. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 49, 1-28 (2012).
Shell, Barry, Great Canadian Scientists

AIP Center for History of Physics

Named after him
Minor Planet #18242 Peebles

More references

The Bruce Medalists

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