Neta Bahcall

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Neta Bahcall
Known forGalaxy clusters
Dark matter
Scientific career
InstitutionsPrinceton University (1971-1983,1989-present)

Space Telescope Science Institute (1983-1989)

California Institute of Technology (1970-1971)

Neta A. Bahcall (born 1942) is an astrophysicist and cosmologist specializing in dark matter, the structure of the universe, quasars, and the formation of galaxies. She is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Astronomy at Princeton University.


Bahcall received a B.S. in physics and mathematics at Hebrew University in Israel in 1963. In 1965, she received her Master's in physics at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. In 1970, Bahcall received her Ph.D. in astrophysics at the University of Tel Aviv in Israel.[1]


From 1970 to 1971, Bahcall was a research fellow in physics at the California Institute of Technology. The same year she received her Ph.D., she began working at Princeton University, where she has been a full-time astrophysics professor since 1989. Between 1971 and 1983, she was a research assistant to a senior research astrophysicist. From 1983 to 1989, she was the chief of the General Observer Support Branch and the head of the Science Program Selection Office at the Space Telescope Science Institute, where she chose which science programs would have access to the Hubble. She was also the director of the Council on Science and Technology of Princeton from 2000 to 2008.[1]

Through the use of the Hubble Space Telescope she has been able to map the location and structure of various galaxies. One of her most important contributions to the field of astrophysics was her calculations of the mass of the universe. She collaborated with her astrophysicist husband, John Bahcall, and together with him and many others authored and coauthored hundreds of papers.

In 1997, Bahcall was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences. She has been a lecturer for numerous organizations including the Nobel Symposium in Stockholm in 1998. Bahcall has been a longtime member of and vice president of the American Astronomical Society from 1995 to 1998. Bahcall has also been a member of: the National Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee (2003–present), the Space Telescope Institute Council (1993-1997), the U.S. National Committee to IAU (1998-2004), the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (1990-1995), the American Institute of Physics Committee on International Relations (1990–1993), and was the chair of the AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (1983). Bahcall received an honorary doctorate from Ohio State University in 2006. All three of Bahcall's children have earned doctorates in the sciences.[1]

Religious views[edit]

When asked about her religious views and belief in God, Bahcall stated: "I am not very religious, but am very Jewish... I combine the science that I do with the religion's question about God in the sense that all the laws of physics that created the Universe and the enormous amount of beauty in the Universe represent the connection to God."[2]

Awards and prizes[edit]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Neta A. Bahcall; Jeremiah P. Ostriker; Saul Perlmutter & Paul J. Steinhardt (1999). "The Cosmic Triangle: Revealing the State of the Universe" (PDF). Science. 284: 1481–1488. arXiv:astro-ph/9906463v4. Bibcode:1999Sci...284.1481B. doi:10.1126/science.284.5419.1481.
  • Bahcall, N.A; Cen, R. (1992), "Galaxy clusters and cold dark matter-A low-density unbiased universe?", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 398, p. L81-L84, Bibcode:1992ApJ...398L..81B, doi:10.1086/186582
  • Bahcall, N.A; Cen, R. (1993), "The Mass Function of Clusters of Galaxies", The Astrophysical Journal, 407, p. L49-L52, Bibcode:1993ApJ...407L..49B, doi:10.1086/18680


  1. ^ a b c Wayne, Tiffany K. (2011). "Bahcall, Neta". American Women of Science since 1900, Vol. 1. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. pp. 210–212.
  2. ^ Hargittai, Balazs; Hafittaí, István. 2005. Candid Science V: Conversations with Famous Scientists. Imperial College Press, p. 278

External links[edit]