David Layzer

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David Layzer
Born(1925-12-31)December 31, 1925
DiedAugust 16, 2019(2019-08-16) (aged 93)
EducationHarvard University (A.B., 1947; Ph.D., 1950)[1]
Known forCold Big Bang
AwardsMember of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
Scientific career
InstitutionsHarvard University
ThesisTwo problems in the theory of atomic spectra: orbit-orbit interaction and central fields (1950)
Doctoral advisorDonald H. Menzel
Notable studentsCarlos Varsavsky
Joseph Silk

David Raymond Layzer (December 31, 1925 – August 16, 2019) was an American astrophysicist, cosmologist, and the Donald H. Menzel Professor Emeritus of Astronomy at Harvard University.[2][3][4] He is known for his cosmological theory of the expansion of the universe, which postulates that its order and information are increasing despite the second law of thermodynamics.[5] He is also known for being one of the most notable researchers who advocated for a Cold Big Bang theory.[6][7] When he proposed this theory in 1966, he suggested it would solve Olbers' paradox, which holds that the night sky on Earth should be much brighter than it actually is.[8] He also published several articles critiquing hereditarian views on human intelligence, such as those of Richard Herrnstein and Arthur Jensen.[9][10] He became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1963,[11] and was also a member of Divisions B and J of the International Astronomical Union.[12] He died in Belmont at the age of 93 in 2019.[13]


  1. ^ Layzer, David; Foundation, Gravity Research (1968). Gravitational collapse, cosmic black-body radiation, and the origin of astronomical systems. Gloucester, Mass. : Gravity Research Foundation. p. 12.
  2. ^ "Astronomy Alumni". Harvard University. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  3. ^ "Course Lotteries". Harvard Crimson. 1983-03-03. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  4. ^ "David Layzer". American Institute of Physics. 2007-12-05. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  5. ^ "David Layzer - the Growth of Order in the Universe". The Information Philosopher. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  6. ^ Siegfried, Tom (2002-08-23). Strange Matters: Undiscovered Ideas at the Frontiers of Space and Time. Joseph Henry Press. pp. 274. ISBN 9780309500586.
  7. ^ Leonard, George (September 2009). The Silent Pulse. Gibbs Smith. p. 138. ISBN 9781423611363.
  8. ^ "Layzer Proposes Theory Explaining Why the Night Sky Is Not Bright". The Harvard Crimson. 1966-04-29. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  9. ^ "'Faked' Data Linked With Herrnstein I.Q. Research". The Harvard Crimson. 1976-10-30. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  10. ^ Montagu, Ashley (2001-04-19). Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race. AltaMira Press. p. 157. ISBN 9780585345482.
  11. ^ "New Members Elected 8 May 1963". Records of the Academy (American Academy of Arts and Sciences) (1962/1963): 143–150. 1962. JSTOR 3785442.
  12. ^ "David Layzer". International Astronomical Union. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  13. ^ "David Layzer Obituary". Short, Williamson & Diamond Funeral Home. Retrieved 2019-09-11.

External links[edit]

  • Profile at the Information Philosopher
  • [1] David Layzer Memorial Website