Competition: US & Canada
Education: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Edmund Bertschinger is a Professor of Physics, former Division Head of Astrophysics, and, as of January 1, 2008, Department Head of Physics at MIT. He is a theoretical astrophysicist whose research interests focus in cosmology and relativistic astrophysics. A native of California, he received his B.S. in physics from Caltech in 1979 and his Ph.D. in Astrophysical Sciences from Princeton University in 1984. Following postdoctoral positions at the University of Virginia and at UC Berkeley, he joined the MIT faculty in 1986, where he rose through the ranks, reaching his present position as full professor in 1996.
Professor Bertschinger is passionate about education. He enjoys teaching classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, relativity, and cosmology. In collaboration with Dr. Edwin Taylor, he introduced an undergraduate class on black holes and astrophysics that is taken by MIT alumni as well as by undergraduates. In 2002, he received the Physics Department’s Buechner Teaching Prize for his undergraduate and graduate classes in relativity.
Professor Bertschinger also loves working with students on research in astrophysics, cosmology, and general relativity. His research students at the high school and undergraduate level have won national prizes for their work, including First Prize in the Intel Science Talent Search. His former Ph.D. students now hold faculty positions at Harvard, Columbia, UC Berkeley, and other fine universities.
As a member of the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, Edmund Bertschinger leads a research program studying the mysteries of dark energy and dark matter. He and his research students investigate the formation of cosmic structure after the big bang, the physics of dark matter both in the early universe and in forming galaxies, and the physical processes governing matter and radiation close to black holes.