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Heidi Jo Newberg

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Heidi Jo Newberg
2007 picture of Heidi Jo Newberg
Photograph by Kris Qua, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley (Ph.D. 1992)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (B.Sc. 1987)
Known forStructure of the Milky Way galaxy
AwardsGruber Prize in Cosmology (2007, shared)
Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics (2015, shared)
Scientific career
InstitutionsFermilab, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Doctoral advisorRichard A. Muller

Heidi Jo Newberg (née Marvin) is an American astrophysicist known for her work in understanding the structure of our Milky Way galaxy. Among her team's findings are that the Milky Way is cannibalizing stars from smaller galaxies[1][2][3] and that the Milky Way is larger and has more ripples than was previously understood.[4] She is a founding participant in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and the Sloan Extension for Galactic Understanding and Exploration (SEGUE),[5] and is a leader of the astrophysical MilkyWay@home volunteer computing project team. She is a professor in the Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York, US, and a Fellow of the American Physical Society.


Newberg received her bachelor's degree in Physics from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1987. She received her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1992, working on the Berkeley Automated Supernova Search, which measured the supernova rates as a function of supernova type in Virgo-distance galaxies; and the Supernova Cosmology Project, which measured the cosmological parameters Omega and Lambda using the light curves of distant supernovae, and provided strong evidence that the expansion of our universe is accelerating.[6] In 2007, she shared the Gruber Prize in Cosmology along with the other members of the Supernova Cosmology Project[7] and in 2011 the group's lead won the Nobel Prize in Physics.[8][9] Newberg shared the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics along with other members of the Supernova Cosmology Project.[10]

At Fermilab, she worked on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey starting in 1992, and the Sloan Extension for Galactic Understanding and Exploration. She has been a member of the faculty of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute since 1999. Newberg has been the director of the Hirsch Observatory since 2001 and was the president of the board of trustees of the Dudley Observatory 2010–2021. In 2012, she was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society "for her contributions to our understanding of the structure of the Milky Way and the universe and for the development software and hardware infrastructure for measuring and extracting meaningful information from large astronomical survey data sets."

She has published papers in diverse areas of galactic and extragalactic astronomy, including: supernova phenomenology, measuring cosmological parameters from supernovae, galaxy photometry, color selection of QSOs, properties of stars, and the structure of our galaxy.

Personal life[edit]

Newberg was born in Washington, D.C. She is married to Lee Newberg and has four children.


  1. ^ Glanz, James (April 11, 2000). "Halo Reveals Remains of Milky Way's Galactic Snacks". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  2. ^ Newberg, Heidi Jo; Yanny, Brian; Rockosi, Connie; Grebel, Eva K.; Rix, Hans-Walter; Brinkmann, Jon; Csabai, Istvan; Hennessy, Greg; Hindsley, Robert B.; Ibata, Rodrigo; Ivezić, Zeljko; Lamb, Don; Nash, E. Thomas; Odenkirchen, Michael; Rave, Heather A.; Schneider, D. P.; Smith, J. Allyn; Stolte, Andrea; York, Donald G. (April 10, 2002). "The Ghost of Sagittarius and Lumps in the Halo of the Milky Way". Astrophysical Journal. 569 (1): 245–274. arXiv:astro-ph/0111095. Bibcode:2002ApJ...569..245N. doi:10.1086/338983. S2CID 16909562.
  3. ^ Wilford, John Noble (January 14, 2003). "In Galaxies Near and Far, New Views of Universe Emerge". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  4. ^ Carlisle, Camille M. (March 16, 2015). "Ripples in the Milky Way". Sky & Telescope. Retrieved 2015-03-20.
  5. ^ "The Sloan Digital Sky Survey turns its eye on the galaxy" (Press release). Sloan Digital Sky Survey. January 11, 2006. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  6. ^ Wilford, John Noble (March 3, 1998). "Wary Astronomers Ponder An Accelerating Universe". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  7. ^ "Newberg Shares Gruber Prize for Discovering Rapid Expansion of Universe" (Press release). Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. July 30, 2007. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  8. ^ Overbye, Dennis (October 4, 2011). "3 Win Nobel for Work on Accelerating Universe". The New York Times. p. A11. Retrieved November 15, 2011.
  9. ^ "Expand the Nobel Prize to Award Teams, Not Just Individuals". Scientific American. October 1, 2012. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
  10. ^ Martialay, Mary L. (November 20, 2014). "Rensselaer Professor Shares 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics: Heidi Newberg Recognized as Part of Award to Supernova Cosmology Project" (Press release). Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Retrieved 2015-03-20.

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