List of cosmologists

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This is a list of people who have made noteworthy contributions to cosmology (the study of the history and large-scale structure of the universe) and their cosmological achievements.


  • Tom Abel (1970–) studied primordial star formation
  • Roberto Abraham (1965–) studied the shapes of early galaxies
  • Hannes Alfvén (1908–1995) theorized that galactic magnetic fields could be generated by plasma currents
  • Ralph A. Alpher (1921–2007) argued that observed proportions of hydrogen and helium in the universe could be explained by the big bang model, predicted cosmic background radiation
  • Aristarchus of Samos (310–230 BC) was an early proponent of heliocentrism
  • Aristotle (circa 384–322 BC) posited a geocentric cosmology that was widely accepted for many centuries
  • Aryabhata (476–550) described a geocentric model with slow and fast epicycles


  • Ja'far ibn Muhammad Abu Ma'shar al-Balkhi (787–886) conveyed Aristotle's theories from Persia to Europe
  • James M. Bardeen (1939–) studied the mathematics of black holes and of vacua under general relativity
  • John D. Barrow (1952–) popularized the anthropic cosmological principle
  • Charles L. Bennett (1956–) studied the large-scale structure of the universe by mapping irregularities in microwave background radiation
  • Orfeu Bertolami (1959–) studied the cosmological constant, inflation, dark energy-dark matter unification and interaction, alternative gravity theories
  • Somnath Bharadwaj studied large-scale structure formation
  • James Binney (1950–) studied galactic dynamics and supernova disruption of galactic gasses
  • Martin Bojowald (1973–) studied loop quantum gravity and established loop quantum cosmology
  • Hermann Bondi (1919–2005) developed the steady-state model
  • Tycho Brahe (1546–1601) promoted a geo-heliocentric system of epicycles
  • Robert Brandenberger (1956–) formulated the theory of string gas cosmology, with colleague Cumrun Vafa, and developed cosmological perturbation theory


  • Bernard J. Carr promoted the anthropic principle, studied primordial black holes
  • Sean M. Carroll (1966–) researched dark energy, general relativity, and spontaneous inflation
  • Peter Coles (1963–) modeled galactic clustering and authored several cosmology books
  • Asantha Cooray (1973–) studied dark energy, halo models of large structure, and cosmic microwave radiation
  • Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543) formulated a heliocentric cosmology


  • Paul Davies (1946–) developed a vacuum model that explains microwave background fluctuation, studies time's arrow, and has written many popular-press books
  • Marc Davis (astronomer) (1947–) was lead astronomer of a survey of 50,000 high-redshift galaxies
  • Avishai Dekel (1951–) studied galaxy formation and large scale structure in dark matter-dark energy dominated universes
  • Robert H. Dicke (1916–1997) measured background radiation, used an early version of the anthropic principle to relate the gravitational constant to the age of the universe
  • Mike J. Disney (1937–) discovered low surface brightness galaxies


  • Jürgen Ehlers (1929–2008) described gravitational lensing and studied the mathematical implications of an isotropic microwave background
  • Jaan Einasto (1929–) studied structure in the large-scale distribution of superclusters of galaxies
  • Albert Einstein (1879–1955) invented general relativity and the cosmological constant
  • George F. R. Ellis (1939–) theorized a cylindrical steady-state universe with a naked singularity as recycling mechanism
  • Richard S. Ellis (1950–) used gravitational lensing and high-redshift supernovae to study the origin of galaxies, large scale structure, and dark matter


  • Sandra M. Faber (1944–) discovered the Great Attractor, a supercluster-scale gravitational anomaly; co-inventor of the theory of cold dark matter
  • Carlos S. Frenk (1951–) studied cosmic structure formation
  • Alexander Friedmann (1888–1925) discovered the expanding-universe solution to general relativity


  • George Gamow (1904–1968) argued that observed proportions of hydrogen and helium in the universe could be explained by the big bang model, modeled the mass and radius of primordial galaxies
  • Margaret J. Geller (1947-) discovered the Great Wall, a superstructure-scale filament of galaxies
  • Thomas Gold (1920–2004) proposed the steady-state theory
  • Gerson Goldhaber (1924–) used supernova observations to measure the energy density of the universe
  • J. Richard Gott (1947–) proposed the use of cosmic strings for time travel
  • Alan Guth (1947–) explained the isotropy of the universe by theorizing a phase of exponential inflation soon after the big bang


  • Stephen W. Hawking (1942–) described singularities in general relativity and developed singularity-free models of the big bang; predicted primordial black holes
  • Charles W. Hellaby described models of general relativity with nonconstant metric signature
  • Michał Heller (1936–) researched noncommutative approaches to quantum relativity
  • Robert C. Herman (1914–1997) predicted the background radiation temperature
  • Lars Hernquist studied galaxy formation and evolution
  • Honorius Augustodunensis (–1151) wrote a popular encyclopedia of cosmology, geography, and world history
  • Hanns Hörbiger (1860–1931) formulated a pseudoscientific theory of ice as the basic substance of all cosmic processes
  • Fred Hoyle (1915–2001) promoted the steady state theory, used the anthropic principle to explain the energy levels of carbon nuclei
  • Edwin P. Hubble (1889–1953) demonstrated the existence of other galaxies and confirmed the relation between redshift and distance
  • John P. Huchra (1948–) discovered the Great Wall, a superstructure-scale filament of galaxies



  • Ronald Kantowski discovered spatially homogeneous but anisotropic solutions to general relativity
  • Johannes Kepler (1571–1630) pioneered heliocentrism, discovered elliptical planetary motion, attempted to explain heavenly motions through physical causes
  • Isaak Markovich Khalatnikov (1919–) conjectured an oscillatory model with an essential singularity for the evolution of the universe
  • Tom W. B. Kibble (1932-) introduced the concept of cosmic strings
  • Robert Kirshner (1949–) discovered the Boötes void, a large region sparsely populated with galaxies, and wrote a popular book on cosmology
  • Edward Kolb studied big bang cosmology including the emergence of baryons and dark matter, and wrote a popular textbook on cosmology
  • Lawrence M. Krauss (1954-) Author of many popular science books on cosmology ("A Universe from Nothing")


  • Ofer Lahav (1959–) studied dark matter and dark energy
  • Tod R. Lauer (1957-) catalogued massive black holes at galaxy centers and correlated their mass with other properties of the galaxies' structures
  • Georges Henri Lemaître (1894–1966) proposed the big bang theory and the distance-redshift relation
  • Andrew R. Liddle (1965–) studied inflationary models, wrote two books on inflation and primordial inhomogeneities
  • Evgeny M. Lifshitz (1915–1985) conjectured an oscillatory model with an essential singularity for the evolution of the universe
  • Andrei Linde (1948–) pioneered inflationary models and proposed eternal chaotic inflation of universes from the false vacuum
  • Abraham Loeb (1962–) researched primordial stars, primordial black holes, quasars, reionization, gravitational lensing, and gamma-ray bursts
  • David H. Lyth studied particle cosmology, wrote two books on inflation and primordial inhomogeneities


  • João Magueijo (1967–) proposed much faster speeds of light in the young universe as an alternative explanation to inflation for its homogeneity
  • Richard Massey (1977–) mapped dark matter in the universe
  • Charles W. Misner (1932–) studied solutions to general relativity including the mixmaster universe and Misner space, wrote influential text on gravitation
  • John Moffat (1932–) proposed much faster speeds of light in the young universe, developed antisymmetric theories of gravity
  • Lauro Moscardini modeled galaxy clustering in the early universe



  • Thanu Padmanabhan (1957–) studied quantum gravity and quantum cosmology
  • Leonard Parker established the study of quantum field theory within general relativity
  • P. James E. Peebles (1935–) predicted cosmic background radiation, contributed to structure theory, developed models that avoid dark matter
  • Roger Penrose (1931–) linked singularities to gravitational collapse, conjectured the nonexistence of naked singularities, and used gravitational entropy to explain homogeneity
  • Arno Penzias (1933–) was the first to observe the cosmic background radiation
  • Saul Perlmutter (1959–) used supernova observations to measure the expansion of the universe
  • Joel Primack (1945-) co-invented the theory of cold dark matter
  • Ptolemy (90–168) wrote the only surviving ancient text on astronomy, conjectured a model of the universe as a set of nested spheres with epicycles


  • Martin Rees (1942–) proposed that quasars are powered by black holes, disproved steady state by studying distribution of quasars
  • Yoel Rephaeli used the distortion of the cosmic background by high-energy electrons to infer the existence of galaxy clusters
  • Adam Riess (1969–) found evidence in supernova data that the expansion of the universe is accelerating and confirming dark energy models
  • Wolfgang Rindler (1924-) coined the phrase "event horizon", Rindler Coordinates, and popularized the use of spinors (with Roger Penrose)
  • Howard P. Robertson (1903–1961) solved the two-body problem in an approximation to general relativity, developed the standard model of general relativity
  • Vera Rubin (1928–) discovered discrepancies in galactic rotation rates leading to the theory of dark matter


  • Rainer K. Sachs (1932–) discovered gravitationally induced redshifts in the cosmic background radiation
  • Allan Sandage (1936–) set the cosmological distance scale and accurately estimated the speed of expansion of the universe
  • Brian P. Schmidt (1967–) used supernova data to measure the acceleration in the expansion of the universe
  • David N. Schramm (1945–1997) was an expert on big bang theory and an early proponent of dark matter
  • Dennis W. Sciama (1926–1999) studied many aspects of cosmology and supervised many other leading cosmologists
  • Seleucus of Seleucia (c.190 BC–) used tidal observations to support a heliocentric model
  • Roman Ulrich Sexl (1939–1986) developed an ether-based theory of absolute simultaneity that is mathematically equivalent to special relativity
  • Al-Sijzi (c.945–1020) invented an astrolabe based on heliocentric principles
  • Joseph Silk (1942-) explained the homogeneity of the early universe using photon diffusion damping
  • Willem de Sitter (1872–1934) developed a theory of dark matter with Einstein, found an expanding matterless solution to general relativity
  • Lee Smolin (1955–) studied quantum gravity, popularized a theory of cosmological natural selection
  • George F. Smoot (1945–) used Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite to measure the temperature and anisotropy of the early universe
  • David N. Spergel (1961–) used Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe satellite to measure the temperature and anisotropy of the early universe
  • Paul Steinhardt (1952-) pioneered inflationary cosmology, introduced first example of eternal inflation, introduced quintessential dark energy, introduced the concept of strongly self-interacting dark matter, studied brane cosmology and cyclic models of the universe
  • Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi (903–986) identified the large Magellanic cloud and made the first recorded observation of the Andromeda galaxy
  • Nicholas B. Suntzeff (1952-) used supernova observations to discover acceleration in the expansion of the universe, calibrated the supernova distance scale
  • Rashid Sunyaev (1943–) developed a theory of density fluctuations in the early universe, described how to use cosmic background distortion to observe large-scale density fluctuations
  • Brian Swimme (1950–) wrote four books on religious aspects of cosmology


  • Max Tegmark (1967–) determined the parameters of the lambda-cold dark matter model using Sloan Survey data, studied mathematical models of multiverses
  • William G. Tifft theorized that galactic redshifts are quantized
  • Beatrice Tinsley (1941–1981) researched galactic evolution, the creation of lightweight elements, and accelerated expansion of the universe
  • Frank J. Tipler (1947–) proved that time travel requires singularities, promoted the anthropic principle
  • Richard C. Tolman (1881–1948) showed that the cosmic background keeps a black-body profile as the universe expands
  • Trinh Xuan Thuan (1948–) researched galaxy formation and evolution
  • Mark Trodden (1968–) studied cosmological implications of topological defects in field theories
  • Michael S. Turner (1949-) coined the term dark energy
  • Neil Turok (1958–) predicted correlations between polarization and temperature anisotropy in the cosmic background, explained the big bang as a brane collision
  • Henry Tye (1947–) proposed brane-antibrane interactions as a cause of inflation


  • Alexander Vilenkin (1949-) showed that eternal inflation is generic, studied cosmic strings, theorized the creation of the universe from quantum fluctuations


  • Robert M. Wald (1947–) wrote a popular text on general relativity, studied the thermodynamics of black holes
  • Arthur Geoffrey Walker (1909–2001) developed the standard model of general relativity and studied the mathematics of relativistic reference frames
  • David Wands studied inflation, superstrings, and density perturbations in the early universe
  • Yun Wang (1964–) uses supernova and galactic redshift data to probe dark energy
  • Jeffrey Weeks (1956-) used cosmic background patterns to determine the topology of the universe
  • Simon D. White (1951–) studied galaxy formation in the lambda-cold dark matter model
  • David Todd Wilkinson (1935–2002) used satellite probes to measure the cosmic background radiation
  • Edward L. Wright (1947-) promoted big bang theories, studied the effect of dust absorption on measurements of the cosmic background


  • Yakov Borisovich Zel'dovich (1914–1987) used accretion disks of massive black holes to explain quasars, predicted Compton scattering of the cosmic background
  • Fritz Zwicky (1898–1974) along with Walter Baade coined the term "supernova", contributions in understanding neutron stars, supernovae as standard candles, gravitational lensing, and dark matter.

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