George B. Field


George B. Field (born October 25, 1929 in Providence, Rhode Island) is an American astrophysicist.

George B. Field
George B. Field (1987)
Born (1929-10-25) October 25, 1929 (age 92)
Alma materMIT (B.S., Physics)
Princeton University (Ph.D.) [1]
Known forAstrophysics

Early life, family and educationEdit

Field was born to a Jewish family in Providence, Rhode Island.[1] His father Winthrop Brooks Field and mother Pauline Woodworth Field were Harvard and Radcliffe graduates, respectively.[1] He became interested in astronomy at an early age, but at the urging of his father he studied chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Disliking engineering, he later switched to astrophysics. After MIT, he attended the graduate school at Princeton University.


Field worked on plasma oscillations and later became interested in cosmology.[1] In 1973, he became the founding director of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, an innovative organizational structure that unified the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (a government agency) and the Harvard College Observatory (a private institution) under a single management. Field served as Director until 1982, when he was succeeded by Irwin I. Shapiro.

In the early 1980s, Field chaired an influential National Academy of Sciences decadal study that recommended priorities for US astronomical research.[2][page needed]

Doctoral studentsEdit

Among his doctoral students were Eric G. Blackman, Sean M. Carroll, Carl E. Heiles, and Christopher McKee.



  1. ^ a b c d "Interview with Dr. George Field". Interviewed by Richard Hirsh. Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Niels Bohr Library and Archives. July 14, 1980.
  2. ^ Cornell, James; Gorenstein, Paul, eds. (April 1985). Astronomy from Space: Sputnik to Space Telescope. The MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-53061-9.
  3. ^ "Recipients of the Karl Schwarzschild Medal". Archived from the original on 17 May 2019.

External linksEdit

  • George B. Field at