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Contact Information
Margaret J. Geller
Mail Stop 19
60 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138


(617) 495 7409

(617) 495 7467


Education and Degrees
B.A. University of California, Berkeley (1970)
M.A., Princeton University (1972)
Ph.D., Princeton University (1974)


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Mapping the Universe

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Margaret J. Geller

Short Biography

Margaret J. Geller was a pioneer in mapping the nearby universe. Her maps provided a new view of the enormous patterns in the distribution of galaxies like the Milky Way --- the largest patterns we know.

Dr. Geller's long-range scientific goals are to discover what the universe looks like and to understand how it came to have the rich patterns we observe today. To put the pieces of this grand puzzle together her research projects range from the structure of our own galaxy, the Milky Way, to mapping the distribution of the mysterious, ubiquitous dark matter in the universe.

Dr. Geller's current main research interests are:

Mapping the distribution of the mysterious, ubiquitous dark matter in the universe. She leads a project called SHELS.

Investigating the implications of the discovery of hypervelocity stars, stars ejected a high velocity from the Galactic center. These stars can travel across the Milky Way and may be an important tracer of the matter distribution in the Galaxy. Geller is a co-discoverer of this new class of objects.

Mapping clusters of galaxies to understand how these systems develop over the history of the universe. She leads a project called HectoMAP.

Measuring and interpreting the signatures of star formation in the spectra of galaxies to understand the links between the star formation in galaxies and their environment.


In July 1990, Dr. Geller received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the recipient of other prizes including the Newcomb-Cleveland Award of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1989), the Klopsteg Award of the American Association of Physics Teachers (1996), a Library Lion from the New York Public Library (1997), the Magellanic Premium of the American Philosophical Society (2008), the James Craig Watson Medal of the National Academy of Sciences (2010), the Henry Norris Russell Lectureship of the American Astronomical Society (2010) , and the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society (2013) . She has given the Bethe Lectures at Cornell University and the Helen Sawyer Hogg Lecture of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and she has received 5 honorary degrees.

Margaret Geller has made films about science. Her 8-minute video Where the Galaxies Are , produced in 1989, the video was the first graphic voyage through the universe based on observations. The video was displayed at several major science museums and graphics from this were widely broadcast. A later 40-minute film, So Many Galaxies...So Little Time, contains fancier prize-winning graphics which are on display at the National Air and Space Museum.

Dr. Geller is broadly committed to public education in science. Her many public lectures, radio interviews, and television appearances have introduced an international audience to the idea that today we can map the universe.  


Some online videos of talks and interviews by Margaret Geller

2013 Lilienfeld Prize Interview (You Tube)
Chautauqua Lecture 2010 (FORA tv)
Chautauqua Lecture 2010 (You Tube)
Chautauqua Interview 2010 (You Tube)


Some popular articles by and about Margaret Geller:

Mastery: Interviews of 30 Remarkable People, Joan Ames, Rudra Press, 1997, p. 87
Science, "The Black Ribbon", 28 August 1998, Vol. 281, p. 1278


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