Rachel Somerville is the George A. and Margaret M. Downsbrough Chair in astrophysics at Rutgers University and a consultant with the galaxy formation group of CCA. She co-leads the galaxy formation group, along with Greg Bryan. Somerville uses semi-analytic modeling, simulations and observations to probe the formation and evolution of galaxies, work that earned her the 2013 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics. The main goal of her research is to understand how galaxies and supermassive black holes form and evolve within a cosmological context. She has served on the faculty at the University of Michigan and headed the theory group at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany and was formerly a member of the science staff at the Space Telescope Science Institute and a research professor at Johns Hopkins University, both in Baltimore, Maryland. 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
Reed College, Portland, OR