Press Release

STScI Astrophysicist Adam Riess Receives MacArthur Fellowship

By SpaceRef Editor
September 23, 2008
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The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today named Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and the Johns Hopkins University among 25 new MacArthur Fellows for 2008.

Riess is the leader of the seminal study for a team that in 1998 co-discovered “dark energy,” a mysterious repulsive force in the universe. Dark energy is one of the biggest mysteries now confronting astrophysics. It not only yields clues to the origin of the universe, but also its fate. Riess continues doing observations to deduce the nature of dark energy.

The 38-year-old astrophysicist has been at STScI since 1999. From 1996 to 1999, he was a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Riess is a 1992 graduate of MIT. He was awarded a doctorate in astrophysics from Harvard University in 1996. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a co-recipient of the Shaw Prize in astronomy.

The MacArthur Fellows will each receive $500,000 over the next five years. The new Fellows work across a broad spectrum of endeavors and include a neurobiologist, a saxophonist, a critical care physician, an urban farmer, an optical physicist, a sculptor, a geriatrician, a historian of medicine, and an inventor of musical instruments. All were selected for their creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future.

The selection process begins with formal nominations. Hundreds of anonymous nominators assist the Foundation in identifying people to be considered for a MacArthur Fellowship. Nominations are accepted only from invited nominators, a list that is constantly renewed throughout the year. They are chosen from many areas and challenged to identify people who demonstrate exceptional creativity and promise.

A 12-member Selection Committee, whose members also serve anonymously, meets regularly to review files, narrow the list, and make final recommendations to the Foundation’s Board of Directors. The number of Fellows selected each year is not fixed; typically, it varies between 20 and 25.

For a photo of Dr. Riess and more information about the MacArthur Fellows program, visit:

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) and is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Md. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) conducts Hubble science operations. The institute is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., Washington, D.C.

SpaceRef staff editor.