Prize Recipient

Katherine Freese

Katherine Freese
University of Michigan / Stockholm University


"For ground-breaking research at the interface of cosmology and particle physics, and her tireless efforts to communicate the excitement of physics to the general public."


Freese is the George E. Uhlenbeck Professor of Physics at the University of Michigan.  She served as Director of Nordita, the Institute for Theoretical Physics of the Nordic countries in Stockholm from 2014-2106 and is now Guest Professor at Stockholm University. She works on a wide range of topics in theoretical cosmology and astroparticle physics. She has been working to identify the dark matter and dark energy that permeate the universe as well as to build a successful model for the early universe immediately after the Big Bang. She is the author of a book The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter, published in June 2014 by Princeton University Press.

Katherine Freese received her B.A. in Physics from Princeton University; her M.A. in Physics in 1981 from Columbia University; and her Ph.D. in Physics in 1984 from the University of Chicago, where she was the recipient of the William Rainey Harper Award Fellowship.  Her first postdoctoral position was at the Harvard/ Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at Santa Barbara and a Presidential Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley. She was an Assistant Professor at MIT from 1987-1991, where she was the recipient of a SLOAN Foundation Fellowship.   Then she moved to the University of Michigan where she was awarded the NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award from 1990-1995.

Freese is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.  In 2007 she was Visiting Miller Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (honoris cause) from the University of Stockholm in September 2012.  She was awarded a Simons Foundation Fellowship in Theoretical Physics in 2012. Since 2016, she is Distinguished Visiting Research Chair at Perimeter Institute in Canada. She gave the Kavli Prize Lecture at the American Astronomical Society meeting in June 2017.

Dr. Freese has served on many advisory panels and committees, including the following: She was a Member of the Board of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara from 2000-2003; General Member of the Board of the Aspen Center for Physics from 1993-2003; a member of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee (AAAC; mandated by Congress)  from 2003-2008; the DMSAG (Dark Matter Scientific Advisory Group) in 2007. She was Member of the International Advisory Board for the Oskar Klein Center for Cosmoparticle Physics in Stockholm, Sweden. Dr. Freese served as Member of the Executive Board and General Councillor of the American Physical Society. She also serves on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Perimeter Institute.

Selection Committee:

2019 Selection Committee Members: David Gross (Chair), Samuel Bader, Baha Balantekin, Charles Bennett, Beverly Berger, William Bialek, Nicholas Bigelow, Robert Continetti, Bonnie Fleming, Cary Forest, Timothy Gay, Giulia Gali, Ann Karagozian, John Marston, Cole Miller, Murugappan Muthukumar, Thomas Roser, Elizabeth Simmons