David Spergel, Ph.D. is the president of the Simons Foundation and a member of the Science Philanthropy Alliance’s board. As the foundation’s second president, Spergel oversees the Simons Foundation’s work of advancing the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences.
Spergel was previously director of the Center for Computational Astrophysics (CCA) at the Flatiron Institute, the internal research division of the Simons Foundation. A leader in cosmology, Spergel is an emeritus professor at Princeton University and a recipient of the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. He is also a recipient of the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal, the Heineman Prize for Astrophysics and a MacArthur fellowship. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a legacy fellow of the American Astronomical Society and an honorary member of the National Society of Black Physicists.
In addition to his prior role as CCA director, Spergel previously chaired the astrophysics department at Princeton University, where he is currently the emeritus Charles Young Professor of Astronomy on the Class of 1897 Foundation. Spergel’s research interests range from the hunt for exoplanets to exploring the shape of the universe. He was a member of the NASA Advisory Council and chair of the National Academy of Sciences’ Space Studies Board.
Spergel received his undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Princeton University in 1982. The following year, he was a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford. He obtained his master’s degree in astronomy in 1984 and his doctorate the next year, both from Harvard University.