Geoffrey Marcy

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Geoffrey Marcy
Geoffrey Marcy.jpg
Marcy in 2007
Born (1954-09-29) September 29, 1954 (age 60)
St. Clair Shores, Michigan, U.S.[1]
Nationality American
Fields Astronomy, Astrophysics
Institutions Carnegie Institution for Science
San Francisco State University
University of California, Berkeley
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles (B.A.)
University of California, Santa Cruz (Ph.D.)
Doctoral advisor Steven S. Vogt [2]
Known for Extrasolar planet discoveries
Notable awards Henry Draper Medal (2001)
Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize (2002)
Shaw Prize (2005)

Geoffrey W. Marcy (born September 29, 1954) is an American astronomer, who is currently Professor of Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, famous for discovering more extrasolar planets than anyone else, 70 out of the first 100 to be discovered, along with R. Paul Butler and Debra Fischer.[1][3]


Marcy graduated from Granada Hills High School in Granada Hills, California in 1972. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Summa Cum Laude with a double major in physics and astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1976. He then completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Astronomy in 1982 at the University of California, Santa Cruz, with much of his work done at Lick Observatory.

He has held teaching and research positions, first at the Carnegie Institution of Washington (then the Mt. Wilson and Las Campanas Observatories) as a Carnegie Fellow from 1982 to 1984. Marcy then worked as an Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy from 1984 to 1996 and then as a Distinguished University Professor from 1997 to 1999 at the San Francisco State University. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the San Francisco State University and a Professor of Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley and the Director of Center for Integrative Planetary Science.

Astronomy career[edit]

In the early 1980s, his research into stellar magnetic fields[4] had reached a dead end.

Marcy confirmed Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz's discovery of the first extrasolar planet orbiting a Sun-like star—51 Pegasi b. Other achievements have included discovering the first multiple planet system around a star similar to our own (Upsilon Andromedae), the first transiting planet around another star (HD209458b), the first extrasolar planet orbiting beyond 5 AU (55 Cancri d), and the first Neptune-sized planets (Gliese 436b and 55 Cancri e). As of June 8, 2012, Marcy is the Watson and Marilyn Alberts Chair for SETI at the University of California at Berkeley.[1][5]

In the media[edit]

  • He is featured on History Channel's "The Universe" programs.
  • He was interviewed by Planetary Radio at least three times.
  • He appeared in the PBS Nova episode "Hunt for Alien Worlds" originally airing in Feb. 1997
  • He appeared in the BBC Horizon episode "The Planet Hunters" originally airing in Mar. 1996


On October 28, 2006 he received an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Delaware.

On June 9, 2012 he received an honorary doctorate in science from The University of Chicago.


Marcy lives with his wife Susan Kegley in California.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Overbye, Dennis (May 12, 2013). "Finder of New Worlds". New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ Tim Stephens (September 4, 2007). "Major gift supports crucial piece of Automated Planet Finder". University of California, Santa Cruz. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 
  3. ^ Lemonick, Michael (December 16, 2009). "Super-Earth: Astronomers Find a Watery New Planet". Time Magazine. Retrieved December 17, 2009. 
  4. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Dvorsky, George (June 8, 2012). "Meet SETI’s new boss: Geoff Marcy, the planet hunter". Retrieved June 14, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Henry Draper Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved February 24, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Sagan Prize Recipients". 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved April 13, 2011. 

External links[edit]