Brian G. Keating
|Born||9 September 1971|
|Education||Brown University (PhD, 2000)|
|Institutions||University of California, San Diego|
|Thesis||A search for the large angular scale polarization of the cosmic microwave background (2000)|
|Doctoral advisor||Peter Timbie|
Brian Gregory Keating (born 9 September 1971) is an American physicist who is a Distinguished Professor of Physics at the Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences in the Department of Physics at University of California, San Diego.
He received his B.S. from Case Western Reserve University, M.S. from Brown University in 1995, and Ph.D. from Brown in 2000. He was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford and a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech.
Keating's research area is the study of the cosmic microwave background and its relationship to the origin and evolution of the universe. In 2001 Keating conceived the first Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) B-mode observing campaign, called BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization), located at the South Pole. In 2014 the BICEP2 successor project announced that it had found evidence of B-modes although later analyses found its signal to be consistent with the effects of cosmic dust. The BICEP2 experiment team received the 2010 NASA Group Achievement Award. Keating is Co-Principal Investigator of the Simons Array, a Cosmic Microwave Background polarimetry experiment which consists of three POLARBEAR-2 type receivers located at the James Ax Observatory in the Atacama Desert in Chile. These are successor to the original POLARBEAR experiment which measured B-Modes in 2014. In 2016, Keating became Director of the Simons Observatory, Cosmic Microwave Background experiment co-located near the Simons Array and ACT telescopes in northern Chile. Groundbreaking for the Simons Observatory occurred on June 30, 2019 at its site in Chile. The Simons Foundation and Heising-Simons Foundation have awarded a total of $80 million to the Simons Observatory, including $20 million for its operation phase beginning in 2022. The project includes over 250 collaborators from over 30 institutions around the world. Keating has expressed optimism that data from the Simons Observatory experiment may constrain the observed tension between low redshift and high redshift probes of the Hubble Constant.
Losing The Nobel Prize
Keating published the book Losing the Nobel Prize in 2018. It describes the BICEP and BICEP2 experiments, located at the South Pole, devised to detect and map the polarization of the cosmic microwave background radiation leftover from the big bang. BICEP2's data showed strong polarization signals that were later shown to be caused by interstellar dust. He later joked that BICEP turned out to be a very expensive and very accurate dust detector. In his book, Keating argues that Nobel Prizes in science have strayed from their original intent of Alfred Nobel's will, and may hinder scientific progress by fostering unnecessary, and sometimes destructive, competition by limiting credit to only 3 living individuals per prize. Keating shows how the process of awarding Nobels has been biased against female and younger scientists.
The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
Each episode is a long-form conversation with nobel laureates, scientists, writers and other notable individuals such as: Noam Chomsky, Eric Weinstein, Jill Tarter, Sara Seager, Adam Riess, Frank Wilczek, Barry Barish, Sheldon Glashow, Rainer Weiss and Roger Penrose.
In 2001, Brian Keating was selected as a National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2005, Keating received an NSF CAREER award for BICEP. In 2006 he was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers by the National Science Foundation. As part of the BICEP2 team, Keating received the 2010 NASA Group Achievement Award. Keating received the Buchalter Cosmology Prize in 2014. Keating is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and an honorary member of the National Society of Black Physicists.
Keating is the son of American mathematician James Ax. After Ax and his wife divorced, she remarried a man named Keating, and young Brian took his stepfather's name. He did not maintain contact with his biological father during his youth; he later said that Ax often joked that 'I don't really care about kids until they learn algebra.'
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