Rachel Somerville, Ph.D.

Group Leader, Galaxy Formation, Flatiron Institute
George A. and Margaret M. Downsbrough Chair in Astrophysics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Rachel Somerville co-leads the galaxy formation group at the CCA, and is the George A. and Margaret M. Downsbrough Chair in astrophysics and a Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University.  The main goal of her research is to understand how galaxies and supermassive black holes form and evolve within a cosmological context. Somerville uses semi-analytic modeling, numerical simulations and observations to approach these problems, work that earned her the 2013 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics and a 2014 Simons Investigator Award. She has previously held positions at the University of Michigan, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany,  and Johns Hopkins University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz and did postdoctoral work at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge. She earned her bachelor’s degree in physics and music from Reed College in Portland, Oregon.


University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

B.S., Physics
Reed College, Portland, OR

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