Marc Kamionkowski was born in 1965 and grew up in the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights. Although his math and science skills were evident, he assumed throughout high school and even upon entering college that he would follow his father (who, like his mother, was an émigré from Argentina) into the medical profession. When Kamionkowski placed out of freshman physics at Washington University in St. Louis, however, he realized that perhaps his talents could take him on a different career trajectory.
He majored in physics at Washington University in St. Louis, graduating summa cum laude in 1987. Four years later he received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Chicago. From 1991 to 1995 Kamionkowski was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, and since then he has served as a professor at Columbia University, the California Institute of Technology, and, as of 2011, Johns Hopkins University, where he holds the title of the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Physics and Astronomy.
Kamionkowski has received fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the American Physical Society, and the International Society of General Relativity and Gravitation. Among his numerous other honors are the American Astronomical Society’s Helen B. Warner Prize and, from the AAS and the American Institute of Physics, the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics. In 2013 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2019 to the National Academy of Sciences.