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Copywrite 2001-2004, California Science Center

Geoffrey W. Marcy, Ph.D.
California Scientist
of the Year


The 2000 California Scientist of the Year is Geoffrey W. Marcy, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy and Director of the Center for Integrative Planetary Science at the University of California at Berkeley. Using high-power telescopes and a special measuring technique, Dr. Marcy explores the universe beyond the reaches of our solar system in search of planets. Just a decade ago, many conventional astronomers doubted that Dr. Marcy's search would ever be successful; they thought that even if planets did exist outside our solar system, we could never detect them. But since that time, 55 extrasolar planets have been discovered—38 of those by Dr. Marcy's team.

"Professor Marcy well deserves to be named California Scientist of the Year. His name will appear in all future histories of Astronomy."
-Frank Drake
President, SETI Institute
Research Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, UC Santa Cruz

The Transition of HD209458
Courtesy of Lynette Cook

The impact of Dr. Marcy's discoveries has energized not only other astronomers, but also scientists in fields as widespread as geology and biology. Knowledge of extrasolar planets sparks new interest in planet formation and evolution, as well as in their geophysics and chemistry. Also, the reality of planets beyond our solar system excites scientists who have spent much of their lives searching for or theorizing about extraterrestrial life. Understanding that other planets are out there brings hope that those worlds may be home to living organisms that we haven't even imagined.

The Upsilon Andromedae System
Courtesy of Lynette Cook


By addressing so many major cosmic questions, Dr. Marcy has captured the interest and imagination of a wide audience through television appearances on programs such as Nova, Nightline and CNN Newsstand, as well as through articles in National Geographic, Scientific American, Time and more. His discoveries lead us closer to solving the deepest mysteries in the stars and invite us to see the universe in a new way.

To learn more about Dr. Marcy's work, check out these links:
Geoffrey W. Marcy's Home Page
The Search For Extrasolar Planets
Planet Hunter Press Release
Salon Interview with Dr. Marcy

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