Rachel Somerville joined the CCA in 2016. In her research, she tries to understand how galaxies and supermassive black holes form and evolve,using theoretical models and multiwavelength observations.
Somerville is a Senior Research Scientist with the Galaxy Formation group at the CCA and co-directs the SMAUG collaboration. 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, Johns Hopkins University, and Rutgers 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 from Reed College in Portland, Oregon.