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Jeremiah P. Ostriker

Jeremiah P. Ostriker

American astronomer
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro American astronomer
Countries United States of America
Occupations Astronomer Astrophysicist Educator
Gender male
Birth 13 April 1937 (New York City, New York, U.S.A.)
Education Harvard University, University of Chicago
The details

Jeremiah Paul "Jerry" Ostriker (born April 13, 1937) is an astrophysicist and a professor of astronomy at Columbia University and is the Charles A. Young Professor Emeritus at Princeton where he also continues as a Senior Research Scholar. Ostriker has also served as a University administrator as Provost of Princeton University.


He received his B.A. from Harvard, and his Ph.D at the University of Chicago.

Career and research

After earning his Ph.D. at Chicago he conducted post-doctoral work at the University of Cambridge. From 1971 to 1995, Ostriker was a professor at Princeton, and served as Provost there from 1995 to 2001. From 2001 to 2003, he was appointed as Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge. He then returned to Princeton as the Charles Young Professor of Astronomy and is now the Charles A. Young Professor Emeritus. He continues as a Senior Research Scholar at Princeton and became a Professor of Astronomy at Columbia in 2012.

Ostriker has been very influential in advancing the theory that most of the mass in the universe is not visible at all, but consists of dark matter. His research has also focused on the interstellar medium, galaxy evolution, cosmology and black holes. On June 20, 2013 Ostriker was given the White House Champions of Change Award for his role in initiating the Sloan Digital Sky Survey project, which makes all of its astronomical data sets available publicly on the Internet

Ostriker is also known for the Ostriker–Peebles criterion, relating to the stability of galactic form.


As of December 2012, Ostriker's articles have been cited over 47,000 times and he has an h-index of 105 (105 papers with at least 105 citations) according to the NASA Astrophysics Data System including:

  • "Precision Cosmology? Not Just Yet"
  • Heart of Darkness,Unraveling the Mysteries of the Invisible Universe Princeton University Press (2013)
  • New Light on Dark Matter, Science, 300, pp 1909–1914 (2003)
  • The Probability Distribution Function of Light in the Universe: Results from Hydrodynamic Simulations, Astrophysical Journal 597, 1 (2003)
  • Cosmic Mach Number as a Function of Overdensity and Galaxy Age, Astrophysical Journal, 553, 513 (2001)
  • Collisional Dark Matter and the Origin of Massive Black Holes, Physical Review Letters, 84, 5258-5260 (2000).
  • Hydrodynamics of Accretion onto Black Holes, Adv. Space Res., 7, 951-960 (1998).

Awards and honors

Ostrker has won numerous awards and honors including:

  • Helen B. Warner Prize for Astronomy of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) (1972)
  • Henry Norris Russell Lectureship of the AAS (1980)
  • Foreign membership of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (1999)
  • National Medal of Science by U.S. President Bill Clinton (2000)
  • Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (2004)
  • Elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 2007
  • Bruce Medal (2011)
  • James Craig Watson Medal (2012)
  • White House Champion of Change (2013)
  • Gruber Prize in Cosmology (2015)

Personal life

Ostriker married noted poet and essayist Alicia Ostriker in 1959. Together they have three adult children.

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