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I am an Associate Professor working in the field of cosmology, the study of how the universe began and evolved into what we see today. I am also Director of Graduate Studies for the Department.

My research , and that of the students working with me, focuses on cosmological theories and how we can constrain them using observations such as the cosmic microwave background "CMB" (radiation emitted at the earliest, directly-observable time in the universe's history), and large scale structure data (galaxies and clusters of galaxies).

My research includes work to establish the nature of dark energy, the mysterious quantity responsible for the accelerated expansion of the universe, and dark matter, and how can we use observations to distinguish between competing theories. I'm also interested in the application of high energy theories to understanding the properties of cosmic inflation in the first moments after the universe was conceived. Inflation is believed to be the process that seeded the large scale structure that we observe today,.

I am actively involved in three upcoming large scale structure surveys: DESI, Euclid and LSST. These surveys are highly complementary in both redshift coverage and in providing distinct maps of the properties of matter and gravity in the cosmos. In combination, they will help us understand dark energy, dark matter and inflation in unprecedented detail.

Some links:


2012 Gruber Cosmology Prize for Charles Bennett and the WMAP team

2010 Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE) award announcement

2008 Cottrell Scholar's Profile


Rachel Bean
612 Space Sciences Bldg
Department of Astronomy
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
607 254 4920