Marc Davis (astronomer)

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Marc Davis
Alma materMIT
Known forgalaxy surveys, cosmology, N-body simulations, interstellar dust
AwardsDannie Heineman Prize (2006),[2] Gruber Prize (2011)[1]
Scientific career
Fieldscosmology, astronomy
InstitutionsUniversity of California, Berkeley
Doctoral advisorDavid T. Wilkinson

Marc Davis (born 1947) is an American Professor of Astronomy and Physics at the University of California, Berkeley.[1] Davis received his bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969, his Ph.D from Princeton University in 1973 and has been elected to both the National Academy of Sciences (1991) and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1992). Davis taught for a year at Princeton, 1973–74, then served on the Astronomy faculty at Harvard from 1975 to 1981. Since 1981 he has been on the faculty of the Department of Astronomy and Physics at the University of California at Berkeley.

Davis' work has been in physical cosmology and he has done a number of significant projects. While at Harvard, Davis led the CfA (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) galaxy survey, the first redshift survey of galaxies, which motivated his interest in N-body simulations of the Universe. In the 1980s, Davis, now at Berkeley, was part of a collaboration—with George Efstathiou, Carlos Frenk, and Simon White—that established the validity of the "cold dark matter" theory for the formation of galaxies and other cosmic structures, now the accepted interpretation in cosmology. In a classic series of papers, that collaboration—often called DEFW by their peers—used computer code to simulate the growth of the universe and resolve disputes among theoretical models.

Through the 90's Davis worked on the theoretically expected large scale flow of galaxies and led the redshift survey of the first all-sky catalog, IRAS, with which he was able to estimate the flow of galaxies out to redshifts of order 6000 km/s. He took up this project once again in 2010 using the gravity field estimated from 2MASS, and he and Nusser were able to estimate the field to redshift of order 10,000 km/s.

He was the lead principal investigator on the ambitious DEEP2 Redshift Survey of 50,000 high redshift galaxies. This was conducted on the ten-meter W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii. The scientific goals of the DEEP survey were to study the properties of galaxies and the clustering of galaxies as the universe has evolved. He has also helped organize and run an all-sky model of cosmic dust distribution in the Milky Way galaxy.

Davis was awarded an honorary PhD from the University of Chicago in 2008. He has also been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science[3] and the American Physical Society, and he has received the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics from the American Institute of Physics and the American Astronomical Society,[2] as well as the Gruber Prize in Cosmology in 2011,[1][4] among numerous other prizes and awards.

While working on the DEEP survey, Davis suffered a stroke in June 2003; it has affected his right limbs although he continues to enjoy one of the main passions in his life, skiing.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e "2011 Cosmology Prize: Marc Davis". Gruber prizes. The Gruber Foundation. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics". Grants and Prizes. American Astronomical Society. Archived from the original on 21 January 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  3. ^ "American Association for the Advancement of Science Elects University Members". University of California Bulletin, week of August 6–10, 1984. 33 (3). p. 12.
  4. ^ Sanders, Robert (1 June 2011). "Gruber Cosmology Prize honors 'dark matter' astronomers" (Press release). University of California Berkeley. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
  5. ^ Magid, Marian (1 May 2006). "Scientist refuses to be hindered by stroke". InsideBayArea. Retrieved 8 May 2014.

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