Geoffrey Marcy bigraphy, stories - American astronomer

Geoffrey Marcy : biography

September 29, 1954 -

Geoffrey W. Marcy (born September 29, 1954, St. Clair Shores, Michigan) is an American astronomer, who is currently Professor of Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, famous for discovering more extrasolar planets than anyone else, 70 out of the first 100 to be discovered, along with R. Paul Butler and Debra Fischer.

Astronomy career

In the early 1980s, his research into stellar magnetic fields had reached a dead end.

Marcy confirmed Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz's discovery of the first extrasolar planet orbiting a Sun-like star—51 Pegasi b. Other achievements have included discovering the first multiple planet system around a star similar to our own (Upsilon Andromedae), the first transiting planet around another star (HD209458b), the first extrasolar planet orbiting beyond 5 AU (55 Cancri d), and the first Neptune-sized planets (Gliese 436b and 55 Cancri e). As of June 8, 2012, Marcy is the Watson and Marilyn Alberts Chair for SETI at the University of California at Berkeley.


Marcy lives with his wife Susan Kegley in California.

Research Achievements

  • Made First Zeeman Measurements of Magnetic Fields for Solar-Type Stars
  • Found Paucity of Brown Dwarfs Orbiting Stars (The Brown Dwarf Desert)
  • Developed Method of Precise Doppler Measurements (3 meter/sec)
  • Discovered 70 of first 100 Extrasolar Planets Known
  • Found Evidence that Solar System May be Peculiar (Circular vs Eccentric Orbits)
  • Discovered First System of Planets Around a Sun-Like Star (Upsilon And)
  • Discovered First Transiting Planet Around another Star (HD209458)
  • Discovered First Candidate Saturn-Mass Planets (HD46375, HD16141)
  • Discovered First Extrasolar Planet Orbiting Beyond 5 AU (55 Cancri d)
  • Co-Discovered First Neptune-Sized Planets: Gliese 436b and 55 Cancri e


Marcy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Summa Cum Laude with a double major in physics and astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1976. He then completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Astrophysics and Astronomy in 1982 at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

He has held teaching positions, first at the Carnegie Institution of Washington as a Carnegie Fellow from 1982 to 1984. Marcy then worked as an Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy from 1984 to 1996 and then as a Distinguished University Professor from 1997 to 1999 at the San Francisco State University. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the San Francisco State University and a Professor of Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley and the Director of Center for Integrative Planetary Science.

In the media

  • He is featured on History Channel's "The Universe" programs.
  • He was interviewed by Planetary Radio at least three times.
  • He appeared in the PBS Nova episode "Hunt for Alien Worlds" originally airing in Feb. 1997


  • Henry Draper Medal of the National Academy of Sciences with R. Paul Butler (2001)
  • Shaw Prize with Michel Mayor (2005)
  • Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization from Wonderfest (2009)
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2010)

On October 28, 2006 he received an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Delaware.

On June 9, 2012 he received an honorary doctorate in science from The University of Chicago.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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