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2009 Cosmology Prize

Jeremy Mould

Born in Bristol, England, Jeremy Richard Mould moved with his family to Australia when he was a teenager. He received his BSc from the University of Melbourne (1972) and his PhD from the Australian National University (1975) in Canberra. Following several postdoctoral research fellowships, including one at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Pasadena, California, Mould moved to Arizona to became an assistant astronomer at the Kitt Peak National Observatory, which is part of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO).

In 1982, Mould joined the faculty at the California Institute of Technology, and then, in 1993, went back to Australia to head up the Australian National University’s Mount Stromlo Observatory. In 2001, he returned to Arizona to become director of NOAO, a position he held until 2007. He is currently an honorary professorial fellow at the University of Melbourne.

Much of Mould’s research has focused on stellar populations, stars within a galaxy that share a similar age and chemical composition. Studying these different generations of stars is one of the principal ways that astronomers determine the age and evolution of galaxies. It was this work that brought Mould to his leadership role in the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project on the Extragalactic Distance Scale.

Mould has received numerous professional awards and honors, including the Newton Lacey Pierce Prize in Astronomy (1984) by the American Astronomical Society and the Oort Professorship (1998) by Leiden University in the Netherlands. He is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and the Australian Academy of Science.

Recently, Mould has co-authored a series of paper showing that when red giants (large, luminous stars in a late phase of their life-cycle) are used as standard candles (astronomical objects with a known luminosity), the value of the Hubble constant is the same as when Cepheid stars are used. This research confirms the findings of the Hubble Space Telescope Key Project.