Douglas Finkbeiner, Associate Professor of Astronomy and of Physics

Douglas Finkbeiner was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1971. He graduated from Pioneer High School in 1989, and enrolled in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. His Freshman year he helped build the legendary Sunrunner and was active planning race strategy for the U of M Solar Car Team. After study programs in literature (Freiburg, Germany) and art history (Florence, Italy), and a summer at the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy with Simon White, he graduated in 1994 with a dual major in physics and German literature.

As a graduate student in the UC Berkeley Physics Department, Finkbeiner worked with Marc Davis & David Schlegel to produce a dust map, useful for estimating Galactic extinction and Galactic microwave emission, which is a significant foreground for CMB anisotropy experiments.

As a postdoc in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton, Finkbeiner became involved with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), in particular the problem of finding a self-consistent global photometric solution for several hundred million objects. This "ubercalibration" was done with Nikhil Padmanabhan and David Schlegel. CfA has joined Pan-STARRs, a successor survey to SDSS, and we expect many great results from that in the near future!

While at Princeton, Finkbeiner also studied the Galactic microwave emission in the WMAP data, finding signs of the long-suspected spinning dust emission, work since followed up in detail with postdoc Greg Dobler. Another curious (and controversial) result from WMAP is the unexpected excess in the inner Milky Way, the "haze", which may be synchrotron emission from cosmic-ray electrons and positrons produced by dark matter annihilation. This possibility is now being investigated at CfA by Finkbeiner, along with grad student Tracy Slatyer. Together with Nima Arkani-Hamed and Neal Weiner, they wrote a paper entitled "A Theory of Dark Matter" tying together many observation results in high-energy astrophysics with a unified model of dark matter.

Other links:
Murchinson Widefield Array