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Phillip James Edwin Peebles OM FRS (born 1935) is a Canadian-American physicist and theoretical cosmologist who is currently the Albert Einstein Professor Emeritus of Science at Princeton University.[1][2] He is widely regarded as one of the world's leading theoretical cosmologists in the period since 1970, with major theoretical contributions to primordial nucleosynthesis, dark matter, the cosmic microwave background, and structure formation. His three textbooks (Physical Cosmology, 1971; Large Scale Structure of the Universe, 1980; Principles of Physical Cosmology, 1993) have been standard references in the field.

Jim Peebles
Jim Peebles.jpg
Born Phillip James Edwin Peebles
(1935-04-25) April 25, 1935 (age 83)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Alma mater
Known for Cosmic microwave background radiation
Awards Eddington Medal (1981)
Heineman Prize (1982)
Bruce Medal (1995)
Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1998)
Gruber Prize (2000)
Harvey Prize (2001)
Shaw Prize (2004)
Crafoord Prize (2005)
Dirac Medal (2013)
Scientific career
Institutions Princeton University


Academic careerEdit

Peebles was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on April 25, 1935, and completed his bachelor's degree at the University of Manitoba. He left Manitoba in the fall of 1958 to attend Princeton University, where he completed his doctorate supervised by Robert Dicke;[3] he remained at Princeton for his whole career.

Peebles has made many important contributions to the big bang model. With Dicke and others (nearly two decades after George Gamov, Ralph A. Alpher and Robert C. Herman), he predicted the cosmic microwave background radiation. Along with making major contributions to big bang nucleosynthesis, dark matter, and dark energy, he was the leading pioneer in the theory of cosmic structure formation in the 1970s. Long before it was considered a serious, quantitative branch of physics, Peebles was studying physical cosmology and has done much to establish its respectability. His Shaw Prize citation states "He laid the foundations for almost all modern investigations in cosmology, both theoretical and observational, transforming a highly speculative field into a precision science."[4]

Peebles has a long record of innovating the basic ideas, which would be extensively studied later by other scientists. For instance, in 1987, he proposed the primordial isocurvature baryon model for the development of the early universe.[5] Similarly, Peebles contributed to establishing the problem of dark matter in the early 1970s.[6] Peebles is also known for the Ostriker–Peebles criterion, relating to the stability of galactic form.

In Peebles' book, Principles of Physical Cosmology,[7] he expressed a preferred reference frame for velocity anywhere in the universe based on Isotropic Cosmic Background Radiation, a departure from previous models, but according to Peebles not in violation of Relativity. Victor Weisskopf gave the same opinion in his book. [8] Without compromising Relativity principles in 1949 Albert Einstein introduced the concept of a preferred inertial frame in his Autobiographical Notes[9] with the recommendation that kinetic energy should be developed as a field concept, but this was not possible at the time before discovery of Cosmic Background Radiation.



Named after him



  1. ^ Princeton University Physics Department Archived May 11, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Princeton University News Archived April 13, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Seeing Cosmology Grow
  4. ^ "Announcement-The Shaw Laureate in Astronomy 2004". Shaw Foundation. Retrieved 27 January 2016. 
  5. ^ Hu (1994-06-28)
  6. ^ de Swart, J. G.; Bertone, G.; van Dongen, J. (2017). "How dark matter came to matter". Nature Astronomy. 1 (0059). arXiv:1703.00013 . Bibcode:2017NatAs...1E..59D. doi:10.1038/s41550-017-0059. 
  7. ^ Principles of Physical Cosmology, Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 1993, Page 151.
  8. ^ The Privilege of Being a Physicist, Freeman, New York, 1989. Page 143.
  9. ^ A Stubbornly Persistent Illusion, edited with commentary by Stephen Hawking, Running Press, Philadelphia Pa, 2009. Page 355.
  10. ^ "Phillip Peebles biography". Royal Society. Retrieved 24 January 2017. 


External linksEdit