Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Edward W. Kolb
University of Chicago


"For pioneering and outstanding contributions to cosmology and particle physics, and an exceptional ability to communicate the extraordinary developments at the intersection of physics and cosmology to the general public."


Edward W. Kolb (known to most as Rocky) received a B.S. in physics from the University of New Orleans and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas under the supervision of Duane A. Dicus. He is the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago and a member of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics and the Enrico Fermi Institute. In 1983 he was a founding head of the Theoretical Astrophysics Group and in 2004 the founding Director of the Particle Astrophysics Center at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. At the University of Chicago, he served as Chair of the Department from 2006-2012, Dean of the Division of the Physical Sciences from 2013-2018, and the David N. Schramm Director of the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics from 2019-2021. The field of Rocky’s research is the application of elementary particle physics to the very early universe, with work on the origin of dark matter, phase transitions, baryogenesis, cosmological limits on new particles and forces beyond the standard model, axions in cosmology and astrophysics, and gravitational particle production. In addition to over 200 scientific papers, he is a co-author of The Early Universe, the standard textbook on particle physics and cosmology. His book for the public, Blind Watchers of the Sky, received the 1996 Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Award. Kolb’s research in cosmology was recognized by the 2010 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics, awarded by the American Astronomical Society and the American Institute of Physics. He holds an honorary degree, Doctor Honoris Causa, from the University of Lyon, France, He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.