David Todd Wilkinson

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David Todd Wilkinson
David Todd Wilkinson.jpg
Born 13 May 1935
Died 5 September 2002 (aged 67 years, 200 days)
Fields cosmology
Institutions Princeton University
Alma mater University of Michigan
Doctoral advisor H. Richard Crane
Doctoral students

Marc Davis
Lawrence Rudnick
Peter R. Saulson
Peter Timbie

Robert Stokes, Paul Henry
Notable awards James Craig Watson Medal (2001)

David Todd Wilkinson (13 May 1935 – 5 September 2002)[1] was a world-renowned pioneer in the field of cosmology, specializing in the study of the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) left over from the Big Bang. He was born in Hillsdale, Michigan, and earned his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Michigan under the supervision of H. Richard Crane.[2]

He was a Professor of Physics at Princeton University from 1965 until his retirement in 2002. He made fundamental contributions to many major CMB experiments, including two NASA satellites, the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) and the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), which was named in his honor after his death due to cancer.[3]

His numerous accolades include the Princeton President's Award for Distinguished Teaching, election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1983, and the James Craig Watson Medal (2001).


  1. ^ "Dr. David T. Wilkinson, 67, a Physicist Who Searched for Big Bang's Echoes Is Dead". NY Times. 2002. 
  2. ^ Mather, John C.; Page, Lyman; Peebles, P. James E. (May 2003). "Obituary: David Todd Wilkinson". Physics Today. 56 (5): 76–77. Bibcode:2003PhT....56e..76M. doi:10.1063/1.1583543. 
  3. ^ "Physicist David Wilkinson, explorer of Big Bang afterglow, dies" (Press release). Princeton University. September 6, 2002. Retrieved 2009-09-17.