Jeremiah P. Ostriker

Jeremiah Paul "Jerry" Ostriker (born April 13, 1937) is an astrophysicist and a professor of astronomy at Columbia University[3][4] and is the Charles A. Young Professor Emeritus at Princeton where he also continues as a Senior Research Scholar.[5] Ostriker has also served as a university administrator as Provost of Princeton University.

Jerry Ostriker
Jeremiah Paul Ostriker

(1937-04-13) April 13, 1937
Alma mater
Alicia Ostriker (m. 1959)
Scientific career
Doctoral advisorSubrahmanyan Chandrasekhar[2]
Doctoral studentsEdmund Bertschinger
Ue-Li Pen
Scott Tremaine
Ellen Zweibel


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.[6] 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.[7] 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 [8]

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"[9]
  • 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) doi:10.1126/Science.1085976
  • 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). doi:10.1016/S0273-1177(98)00127-6

Awards and honors

Ostriker has won numerous awards and honors including:

Personal life

Ostriker married noted poet and essayist Alicia Ostriker (née Suskin) in 1959. Together they have three adult children: Rebecca, Eve and Gabriel.[6]


  1. "Professor Jeremiah Ostriker ForMemRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-11-17.
  2. Jeremiah P. Ostriker at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. Who's who in Frontiers of Science and Technology
  4. Powell, C.S. (1994). "Profile: Jeremiah and Alicia Ostriker A Marriage of Science and Art". Scientific American. 271 (3): 28–31. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0994-28.
  5. "Jeremiah P. Ostriker Biography".
  6. Jeremiah P. Ostriker biography
  7. de Swart, J. G.; Bertone, G.; van Dongen, J. (2017). "How dark matter came to matter". Nature Astronomy. 1 (59): 0059. arXiv:1703.00013. Bibcode:2017NatAs...1E..59D. doi:10.1038/s41550-017-0059.
  8. "FACULTY HONOR: Ostriker named White House Champion of Change". Princeton University. June 19, 2013. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  9. Bridle, Sarah L.; Lahav, Ofer; Ostriker, Jeremiah P.; Steinhardt, Paul J. (2003). "Precision Cosmology? Not Just Yet". Science. 299 (5612): 1532–1533. arXiv:astro-ph/0303180. Bibcode:2003Sci...299.1532B. doi:10.1126/science.1082158. PMID 12624255.
  10. "J.P. Ostriker". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 13 February 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
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