List of Famous Astrophysicists People

List of Famous Astrophysicists

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This list of famous astrophysicists includes photos, bios, and other information, when available. Who are the top astrophysicists in the world? This includes the most prominent astrophysicists, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable astrophysicists is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic astrophysicists were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned astrophysicists.

The list you're viewing is made up of different people, from famous modern physicists like Brian May and other astrophysics scientist luminaries like child prodigy Jacob Barnett. You might even recognize a few celebrity astrophysicists listed here!

From reputable, prominent, and well-known astrophysicists to the lesser known astrophysicists of today, you'll find some of the best professionals in the field on this list of astrophysicists. Who are the most famous astrophysicists ever? What are the names of famous astrophysicists? Read on to learn more!

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  1. 1
    Carl Sagan
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Carl Sagan appeared in the 2012 documentary film Beyond Expression Bright.more

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    • Age: Died at 62 (1934-1996)
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Physicist, Novelist, Scientist, Author, Writer, + more
    • Credits: Contact, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Nova, Good Morning America, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, + more
  2. 2
    Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator. Since 1996, he has been the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City. The center is part of the American Museum of Natural History, where ...more

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    • Age: age 57
    • Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Astrophysicist, Author, Actor, Television Editor, Writer, + more
    • Credits: Nova ScienceNow, The Universe, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, 400 Years of the Telescope
  3. 3
    Stephen Hawking
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Stephen William Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA is an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. His scientific works include a collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems in ...more

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    • Age: age 73
    • Birthplace: Oxford, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Mathematician, Physicist, Professor, Screenwriter, Scientist, + more
    • Credits: Masters of Science Fiction, Alien Planet, Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs, A Brief History of Time, Hawking, + more
  4. 4

    Kip Stephen Thorne is an American theoretical physicist, known for his contributions in gravitational physics and astrophysics. A longtime friend and colleague of Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan, he was the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology until 2009 and ...more

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    • Age: age 75
    • Birthplace: Logan, Utah, United States of America
    • Profession: Physicist, Astronomer
  5. 5
    Frank Drake
    Photo: Freebase/CC-BY

    Frank Donald Drake is an American astronomer and astrophysicist. He is most notable as one of the pioneers in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, including the founding of SETI, mounting the first observational attempts at detecting extraterrestrial communications in 1960 in Project Ozma, ...more

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    • Age: age 85
    • Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
    • Profession: Astronomer
  6. 6

    Freeman John Dyson FRS is an English-born theoretical physicist and mathematician, known for his work in quantum electrodynamics, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering. Dyson is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.more

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    • Age: age 92
    • Birthplace: Crowthorne, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Mathematician, Physicist, Professor, Scientist, Author, + more
  7. 7
    Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
    Photo: Freebase

    Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, FRS, was an Indian American astrophysicist born in Lahore, Punjab. Chandrasekhar was awarded, along with William A. Fowler, the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics, with Chandrasekhar cited for his mathematical theory of the physical processes of importance to the structure and ...more

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    • Age: Died at 85 (1910-1995)
    • Birthplace: Lahore, Pakistan
    • Profession: Mathematician, Physicist, Scientist, Astronomer
  8. 8

    Brian Harold May, CBE is an English musician, singer, songwriter, and astrophysicist who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen. He uses a home-built electric guitar, called the Red Special. His compositions for the band include "We Will Rock You", "Tie Your Mother ...more

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    • Age: age 68
    • Birthplace: Eurasia, London, United Kingdom, Hampton, London, + more
    • Profession: Astrophysicist, Record producer, Guitarist, Songwriter, Musician, + more
    • Credits: Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, Missing in Action 2: The Beginning, Harlequin, Steel Dawn, The True Story of Eskimo Nell, + more
  9. 9
    Michael Foale
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Colin Michael Foale, CBE, PhD is a British-American astrophysicist and former NASA astronaut. He is a veteran of six space shuttle missions and extended stays on both Mir and the International Space Station. He was the first Briton to perform a space walk, and until 17 April 2008, he held the record for ...more

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    • Age: age 58
    • Birthplace: Louth, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Astrophysicist, Astronaut, Astronomer
  10. 10
    Dirk Frimout
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Dirk Dries David Damiaan, Viscount Frimout is an astrophysicist for the European Space Agency. He flew aboard NASA Space Shuttle mision STS-45 as a payload specialist, making him the first Belgian in space.more

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    • Age: age 74
    • Birthplace: Poperinge, Belgium
    • Profession: Astrophysicist, Astronomer, Engineer
  11. 11
    David Brin
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Glen David Brin is an American scientist and award-winning author of science fiction. He has received the Hugo, Locus, Campbell and Nebula Awards. His Campbell Award winning novel The Postman was adapted as a feature film and starred Kevin Costner in 1997. David Brin's nonfiction book The Transparent ...more

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    • Age: age 65
    • Birthplace: Glendale, California, United States of America
    • Profession: Astrophysicist, Novelist, Scientist, Author, Writer
    • Credits: The Postman
  12. 12

    Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin was a British–American astronomer and astrophysicist who, in 1925, proposed in her Ph.D. thesis an explanation for the composition of stars in terms of the relative abundances of hydrogen and helium.more

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    • Age: Died at 79 (1900-1979)
    • Birthplace: Wendover, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Astronomer
  13. 13
    John-David F. Bartoe
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    John-David Francis Bartoe is an American astrophysicist. He is the Research Manager for the International Space Station at NASA's Johnson Space Center. He provides oversight for the Program Manager concerning the research capability, research hardware, and research plans of the ISS. As a civilian ...more

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    • Age: age 71
    • Birthplace: Abington, Abington Township, Pennsylvania, United States of America
    • Profession: Astrophysicist, Astronomer
  14. 14
    Annie Jump Cannon
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Annie Jump Cannon was an American astronomer whose cataloging work was instrumental in the development of contemporary stellar classification. With Edward C. Pickering, she is credited with the creation of the Harvard Classification Scheme, which was the first serious attempt to organize and classify ...more

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    • Age: Died at 78 (1863-1941)
    • Birthplace: Dover, Delaware, United States of America
    • Profession: Human computer, Astronomer
  15. 15
    Alexei Filippenko
    Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA

    Alexei Vladimir "Alex" Filippenko is an American astrophysicist and professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley. Filippenko graduated from Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, CA. He received a Bachelor of Arts in physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1979 and a ...more

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    • Age: age 57
    • Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States of America
    • Profession: Astrophysicist, Professor, Astronomer
    • Credits: The Universe
  16. 16
    Curt Michel
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Frank Curtis "Curt" Michel was an American astrophysicist, a former professor of astrophysics at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and a former NASA astronaut.more

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    • Age: age 81
    • Birthplace: La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States of America
    • Profession: Astrophysicist, Astronaut, Astronomer
  17. 17
    Jeffrey A. Hoffman
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Jeffrey Alan Hoffman, Ph.D. is an American former NASA astronaut and currently a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. Hoffman made five flights as a space shuttle astronaut, including the first mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope in 1993, when the orbiting telescope's flawed ...more

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    • Age: age 71
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Astrophysicist, Professor, Astronaut, Scientist
  18. 18

    Gregory Benford is an American science fiction author and astrophysicist who is on the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine. He is also a contributing editor of Reason magazine. As a science fiction author, Benford is perhaps best known for the ...more

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    • Age: age 74
    • Birthplace: Mobile, Alabama, United States of America
    • Profession: Editor, Astrophysicist, Physicist, Novelist, Scientist, + more
    • Credits: Stephen Hawking's Universe
  19. 19

    Jerry Earl Nelson is an American astronomer known for his pioneering work designing segmented mirror telescopes, which led to him receiving the 2010 Kavli Prize for Astrophysics. He is the principal designer and project scientist for the Keck telescopes.more

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    • Age: age 71
    • Birthplace: California, United States of America
    • Profession: Astrophysicist
  20. 20

    James Edward Gunn is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Astronomy at Princeton University. Gunn's early theoretical work in astronomy has helped establish the current understanding of how galaxies form, and the properties of the space between galaxies. He also suggested important observational tests to ...more

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    • Age: age 77
    • Birthplace: United States of America
    • Profession: Astrophysicist
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