Edmund Bertschinger is Institute Community and Equity Officer (ICEO) and Professor of Physics. He has been on the faculty of MIT since 1986 and was head of the Physics Department from 2008 until his appointment as ICEO in July 2013.
He is a theoretical astrophysicist whose research focuses on cosmology, gravitation, and relativistic astrophysics. As a member of the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, he leads a research program studying dark energy and dark matter. He and his research students (from high school to postdoctoral) investigate the formation of cosmic structure after the big bang, the physics of dark matter both in the early universe and in forming galaxies, the physics of gravitation in general relativity and alternative theories, and the physical processes governing matter and radiation close to black holes. His group uses a combination of analytical, computational, and statistical methods.
He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and has received the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Helen B. Warner Prize of the American Astronomical Society, and the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. Professor Bertschinger is passionate about teaching, mentoring, and the promotion of equity and inclusion in academia. His accomplishments in these areas have been recognized at MIT with the Buechner Teaching Prize, the Outstanding Freshman Advisor Award, and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award, and outside MIT with the Luis Walter Alvarez Award for the Advancement of Latinos in Science from the SACNAS-SHPE-MAES STEM Consortium and the Outstanding MAEStro Award from MAES (Latinos in Science and Engineering).
Bertschinger was born and raised in California. He received his BS in physics from Caltech in 1979 and his PhD in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University in 1984. He spent two years as a postdoc at the University of Virginia and one year as Miller Research Fellow at UC Berkeley before joining the MIT faculty. He is an honorary member of the MIT Alumni Association.