UC Santa CruzUCSC Physics Department

Professor Joel R. Primack

Joel R. Primack

Distinguished Professor of Physics Emeritus
Director, University of California systemwide High-Performance Astro-Computing Center, 2010-2015
Princeton University A.B. 1966 Physics, (Summa cum laude, valedictorian)
Ph.D. Stanford University, 1970 Physics
Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows, Harvard University, 1970-73
A. P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, 1974
Fellow of the American Physical Society, of the American Association for the
Advancement of Science, and of the California Academy of Sciences
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Senior Award, 1999
American Physical Society Leo Szilard Lectureship Award, 2016

Office: Room 318 Interdisciplinary Science Building (ISB)
Phone: (831) 459-2580
FAX: (831) 459-3043
e-mail: joel@ucsc.edu

  • Research Interests
  • Scientific Biography
  • Publications
  • Publications with Nancy Abrams
  • Quick Links
  • CV
  • Videos & Interviews

Research Interests

Dr. Joel R. Primack specializes in the formation and evolution of galaxies and the nature of the dark matter that makes up most of the matter in the universe. After helping to create what is now called the "Standard Model" of particle physics, Primack began working in cosmology in the late 1970s, and he became a leader in the new field of particle astrophysics.  His 1982 paper with Heinz Pagels was the first to propose that a natural candidate for the dark matter is the lightest supersymmetric particle.  He is one of the principal originators and developers of the theory of Cold Dark Matter, which has become the basis for the standard modern picture of structure formation in the universe.  With support from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the Department of Energy, he is currently using supercomputers to simulate and visualize the evolution of the universe and the formation of galaxies under various assumptions, and comparing the predictions of these theories to the latest observational data.

Primack shared the APS Forum on Physics and Society Award in 1977 with Frank von Hippel of Princeton for their book Advice and Dissent: Scientists in the Political Arena (Basic Books, 1974; New American Library, 1976).  Primack was made a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) in 1988 "for pioneering contributions to gauge theory and cosmology."  He was elected to the Executive Committee of the APS Division of Astrophysics 2001-2002.  He was a member of the APS Panel on Public Affairs 2002-2004, and chaired the APS Forum on Physics and Society in 2005. In 2004 he chaired the APS committee on NASA funding for astronomy. He has served on numerous advisory panels to DOE, NASA, and NSF. In 2006-07 he served on the National Academy of Sciences Beyond Einstein study.

In 1995 Primack was made a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), "for pioneering efforts in the establishment of the AAAS Congressional Science Fellows Program and for dedication to expanding the use of science in policymaking throughout government".  He has served on the board of the Federation of American Scientists and was a founder of the Union of Concerned Scientists.  His popular articles on efforts to protect the near-Earth space environment have appeared in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Science, Scientific American, and Technology Review. He was a member of the AAAS Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility, and helped to establish the AAAS Science and Human Rights program.  He also served as an adviser to and participant in the Science and the Spiritual Quest project, and as chairman of the advisory committee for the AAAS Program of Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion 2000-2002. 

Primack was one of the main advisors for the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum's 1996 IMAX film Cosmic Voyage, and he is now working with leading planetariums to help make the invisible universe visible.  In addition to more than 200 technical articles in professional journals, Primack has written a number of articles aimed at a more popular audience.  These include articles in the World Book Encyclopedia and in publications such as Astronomy, Beam Line, California Wild, Sky and Telescope, and in the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and the Encyclopedia of Astronomy and Astrophysics. With Nancy Abrams, he is the author of The View from the Center of the Universe: Discovering Our Extraordinary Place in the Cosmos (Riverhead/Penguin, 2006) and The New Universe and the Human Future: How a Shared Cosmology Could Transform the World (Yale University Press, 2011).

Scientific Biography

Joel R. Primack, Distinguished Professor of Physics Emeritus, UCSC

Research: I think of myself as a theoretical physicist with broad interests, which have included plasma physics, nuclear physics, particle physics, and astrophysics.  I am best known for my research on cosmology and galaxy formation.

My Princeton senior thesis under Gerald E. Brown's supervision was the first modern theory of nuclear fission (Primack 1966).  Although it overturned the liquid drop model of Niels Bohr and John Wheeler (1939), Wheeler gave it highest marks and I graduated as the valedictorian of Princeton’s class of 1966.  As an undergraduate I also published papers on plasma fluid dynamics based on research as a summer employee at Jet Propulsion Lab.

I worked on theoretical particle physics as Sid Drell’s grad student at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) 1966-70, as a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows 1970-73, and in my first decade at UCSC (1973-1983).  Drell suggested that I figure out what was wrong with the apparent failure of the Drell-Hearn sum rule applied to nuclei, so Stan Brodsky and I wrote fundamental papers (1968-69) on how to treat the electromagnetic interactions of composite systems such as nuclei.  Tom Appelquist and I studied form factors in quantum field theory (1970-72).  Appelquist, Helen Quinn, and I wrote some of the first papers on the SU(2)xU(1) electroweak theory (1972-73).  With Ben Lee and Sam Trieman I did the first calculation of the mass of the charmed quark (1973), and Abraham Pais and I (1973) showed that CP violation arises in the cross term between first and second order perturbation theory.  Sam Berman and I (1974) showed that polarized electron scattering allows a high-precision test of SU(2)xU(1), which resulted in the SLAC experiment whose success helped justify the Nobel Prize for Glashow, Salam, and Weinberg. My first grad student Sander Bais and I did the first precise calculation of the mass of the 't Hooft- Polyakov monopole (1976).  Richard Brandt and I showed (1978) how the spin-statistics connection arises for particles with both electric and magnetic charge (dyons).  My grad student Jean-Luc Cambier, my postdoc Marc Sher, and I did the first full finite temperature field theory calculation of neutron decay (1982), a process relevant to Big Bang Nucleosynthesis.  My subsequent research on modern cosmology has sometimes included relevant particle physics.

I am probably best known for helping to create the modern cosmological standard model, LCDM.  I was the first to propose that the lightest supersymmetric partner is a natural candidate for the dark matter particle (Pagels & Primack 1982), which led to warm dark matter (Blumenthal, Pagels, & Primack 1982).  George Blumenthal and I worked out the cold dark matter (CDM) power spectrum and began to study its implications for galaxy formation (Primack & Blumenthal 1983).  This led to the successful comparison of the cold dark matter theory of structure formation with the first galaxy redshift survey (“Formation of Galaxies and Large-Scale Structure with Cold Dark Matter,” Blumenthal, Faber, Primack, & Rees 1984), a fundamental paper that I led.  In it we considered both Wm=1.0 and Wm=0.2, and concluded that the observations favored the lower value.  I wrote up my lectures on CDM cosmology at the 1984 Varenna summer school in a preprint (Primack SLAC-PUB-3387, 1984, 176 pages) that was very widely circulated; it provided the introduction to dark matter cosmology for many astronomers.  I finished the CDM paper and the Varenna lecture notes during my sabbatical in 1984 at SLAC, where all the figures were prepared. 

In subsequent years my colleagues and I did various theoretical studies of the dark matter universe, including
contraction of dark matter galactic halos due to baryonic infall (Blumenthal, Faber, Flores, & Primack 1986)
how to discover dark matter (Primack, Seckel, & Sadoulet, Annual Reviews of Nuclear & Particle Physics 1988)
calculations of linear power spectra for many CDM variants (John Holtzman’s 1989 dissertation based on Blumenthal's and my 1983 code, and comparison with observations Holtzman & Primack 1993)
dynamical effects of a cosmological constant, including on the growth rate of structure (Lahav, Lilje, Primack, & Rees 1991)
cosmological structure formation simulations on CDM variants Cold + Hot Dark Matter (Klypin et al. 1993, Primack et al. 1995) and LCDM (Klypin, Primack, & Holtzman 1996) compared with observations
conflicts between steep central dark matter halo profiles in dark matter simulations vs. observations of dwarf galaxies and galaxy clusters (Flores & Primack 1994, based on Ricardo Flores dissertation research with me)
improvements in semi-analytic modeling of the galaxy population (Rachel Somerville’s thesis paper Somerville & Primack 1999; also Somerville, Primack & Faber 2001 and many subsequent papers including “Galaxy properties from the ultraviolet to the far-infrared: ΛCDM models confront observations” (Somerville et al. 2012) and papers based on Lauren Porter's dissertation research with Somerville and me (2014)
semi-analytic modeling of damped Lya systems (Ari Maller’s dissertation papers with Prochaska, Somerville, and me 2000-2002)
dark matter halo concentration evolution and angular momentum distribution (James Bullock's dissertation papers with Avishai Dekel, Anatoly Klypin, and me 2001)
dark matter halo assembly history and angular momentum evolution (my grad student Risa Wechsler’s dissertation papers with Avishai Dekel, Anatoly Klypin, and me 2002)
halo occupation distribution and predicted evolution of the galaxy two-point correlation function (Kravtsov et al. 2004)
Gini-M20 non-parametric classification of galaxy images (Lotz, Primack, & Madau 2004 and many subsequent papers, including observability timescales for morphological indications of galaxy mergers (Lotz, Jonsson, Cox, and Primack 2008, 2011ab) used for measurement of galaxy merger rates compared with theory (Lotz et al. 2011)
feedback in simulations of disk galaxy major mergers (2006, based on T. J. Cox’s dissertation and subsequent collaboration with me)
shapes of dark matter halos (Brandon Allgood's dissertation paper with me, 2006)
the Sunrise code for producing images from galaxy simulations including the effects of stellar evolution and dust scattering, absorption, and re-emission of light (Patrik Jonsson’s dissertation and postdoc research with me, 2002-2010)
high-resolution Bolshoi cosmological simulations compared with observations (Klypin, Trujillo-Gomez, & Primack 2011, Trujillo-Gomez, Klypin, Primack, Romanowsky 2011, Prada et al. 2012, with analyses by Peter Behroozi, Mike Busha, Risa Wechsler et al. 2012, and the Klypin-Primack Bolshoi-Planck simulations 2016)
high-resolution hydrodynamic cosmological galaxy simulations, including roles of cold streams and violent disk instabilities, compared with HST CANDELS survey (papers with Daniel Ceverino, Avishai Dekel, Sandra Faber, Anatoly Klypin, et al. 2010-)

Another main interest of mine has been extragalactic background light and gamma-ray attenuation by primack_bio_1, starting with “Probing the Era of Galaxy Formation via TeV Gamma Ray Absorption by the Near Infrared Extragalactic Background” (MacMinn & Primack 1996, based on Donn MacMinn’s senior thesis research with me).  Key recent papers include GeV gamma-ray attenuation and the high-redshift UV background (Gilmore et al. 2008), Modeling GRBs (Gilmore, Prada, & Primack 2010), EBL and Gamma-ray Attenuation (Primack et al. 2011), EBL Inferred from AEGIS Galaxy-SED-type Fractions (Dominguez et al. 2011), Semi-analytic Modeling of the EBL and Gamma-ray Attenuation (Gilmore et al. 2012), IACT observations of gamma-ray bursts: prospects for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (Gilmore et al. 2013), “Detection of the Cosmic Gamma-ray Horizon from Multiwavelength Observations of Blazars” (Dominguez et al. 2013), based on dissertation research with me by Rudy Gilmore and Alberto Dominguez and our subsequent collaborations.  We published a popular article about all this in the June 2015 Scientific American, and Dominguez and I are writing a review of the EBL for Reports of Progress in Physics.

Scientific leadership: Since 2003 I have hosted the annual Santa Cruz Galaxy Workshop.  I led the University of California systemwide High-Performance AstroComputing Center (UC-HiPACC), for which I wrote the successful proposal in 2009, and which I directed from when it began in January 2010 through 2015, with an annual UC budget of $350,000 plus funds raised through grants and gifts.  I supervised UC-HiPACC’s part-time staff of four (administrator Sue Grasso, writer Trudy Bell, visualizers Nina McCurdy and Alex Bogert, webmaster Steven Zaslaw), and organized conferences, workshops, a small grants program, and outreach activities (see the HiPACC website), and an International Summer School on AstroComputing in which students from around the world attended lectures in the morning and used supercomputer accounts to learn to use relevant codes in hands-on afternoon sessions.  The UC-HiPACC summer school topics were galaxy formation at UCSC in 2010, explosive astrophysics at UCB/LBNL in 2011, astro-informatics at UCSD in 2012, star and planet formation at UCSC in 2013, and nuclear astrophysics in 2014 at UCSD (with slides and videos of all lectures online). I am co-I of the UCSC astronomical computing center and PI of our new PetaByte AstroData storage and server system.  I am also director of the new UCSC 3D Astronomical Visualization Lab.

With my UCSC colleague Piero Madau, I also initiated the Assembling Galaxies of Resolved Anatomy (AGORA) project (papers: Ji-hoon Kim et al. 2014, 2016).   The goal of AGORA is to improve our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution by running high-resolution galaxy simulations starting from the same zoom-in cosmological initial conditions and as much as possible using the same physics and the same volumetric data analysis and visualization code (yt), and comparing these simulations to each other, to fundamental theory for verification, and to observations for validation.  I led a successful National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) Data Intensive Computing Pilot Program proposal to support AGORA, which provides at least 100TB of data storage and NERSC supercomputer time for analysis and visualization of the outputs from the many AGORA simulations starting in January 2014.

I have been continuously supported by NSF and/or NASA grants ever since coming to UCSC in 1973, and I have administered an active research group.  I have for many years been a major user of NASA’s supercomputers at NASA Ames Research Center and DOE supercomputers at NERSC, and I have received allocations of supercomputer time often totaling more than 10M cpu-hours per year.  I have participated as a Co-I in three proposals, all successful, for Major Research Instrumentation grants from NSF to acquire astrophysics computing hardware at UCSC. 

I have also helped to start many other institutions related to science and technology.  This began with the Stanford Workshops on Political and Social Issues (SWOPSI), which I initiated in my last year as a graduate student at Stanford in fall 1969, along with student body co-president Joyce Kobayashi and my fellow Princeton valedictorian and Sid Drell grad student Bob Jaffe. SWOPSI lasted 20 years and led to many new initiatives at Stanford, including the Center for International Security and Arms Control (which grew out of the 1970 SWOPSI course on Arms Control and Disarmament co-taught by SLAC Director Wolfgang Panofsky).  In the SWOPSI course on science and technology in government that I co-organized with Jaffe, Martin Perl, and Frank von Hippel, I led the focus on science and technology policy in Congress, including a questionnaire of Senate and House members in collaboration with then California Senator Alan Cranston and Representative Jeffrey Cohelan.  That led in turn to my leadership in 1972-73 in creating the Congressional Science and Technology Fellowship program, both in the American Physical Society (APS) and in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  I designed the program working with AAAS officers (especially treasurer Bill Golden) and members of Congress and their staffs, recruited first year Congressional Fellows, and raised the initial funds.  AAAS has coordinated the program ever since.  It now includes up to 50 scientists per year who serve on the staffs of Senators, Representatives, and Congressional Committees.  This was the beginning of the AAAS Fellowships program, which now places about 250 scientists in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government.  In 1972-73 I proposed the name of the APS Forum on Physics and Society (FPS) and helped to bring it into existence; I later served as chairman of the FPS (2005).  I also led the effort to organize the first APS studies on public policy issues, beginning with the study on nuclear reactor safety for which Freeman Dysan and I wrote the proposal and I led the fund raising (1973-74).  Frank von Hippel and I wrote Advice and Dissent: Scientists in the Political Arena (Basic Books 1974), and we worked with Senator Ted Kennedy in 1976-78 to create the NSF Science for Citizens Program.  As a charter member of the AAAS Committee on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility (1976-80), I initiated and organized the AAAS Science and Human Rights program, which has become a major AAAS activity that has rescued many scientists and non-scientists.  In 1987-89 I led the Federation of American Scientists Space Nuclear Power Arms Control project, which helped to end the USSR’s space nuclear reactor program.  As a member 2002-04 of the APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA), I led an APS study on the negative effects on science of President Bush’s 2004 Vision for Space Exploration, and our hard-hitting report was endorsed by the APS Council.  Then-NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe resigned shortly after our report was released, and the next NASA Administrator Michael Griffin reversed many of O’Keefe’s decisions. 

Teaching and education, including public education: At UCSC I have taught at every level from introductory undergraduate courses through advanced graduate courses on quantum field theory, group theory, and cosmology.  I have also supervised all or part of the research of 45 graduate students and 11 postdocs, many of whom have gone on to distinguished careers.  In academic year 2013-14, my last year before I retired from teaching, my UCSC courses were Physics 5D Thermodynamics in Fall 2013, Physics 129 Nuclear and Particle Astrophysics (a new upper division course that I initiated) and Physics 205 Introduction to Research (for beginning grad students) in Winter 2014, and Physics 224 Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology (for grad students in physics and astrophysics) in Spring 2014.  In 2013 I also lectured at four schools for advanced graduate students and postdocs: the Jerusalem Winter School on Galaxy Formation in January (where my lectures included the opening and closing talks), the Institute for Cosmology and Philosophy (which I co-organized) and the UC-HiPACC school on Star and Planet Formation at UCSC in July, and the School on AstroParticle and Underground Physics at Asilomar in September.  I have held visiting positions at 18 universities and research centers around the world.  I have also given many public lectures at universities, including as the Lansdowne Lecturer at the University of Victoria, the J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Lecturer at Los Alamos, and the Buhl Lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University. 

At UCSC I have developed many new courses, including a sequence of freshman honors introductory physics courses and a popular course on Cosmology and Culture that I co-taught in 1996-2009 with my wife, historian and philosopher of science Nancy Ellen Abrams.  This course won awards from the John Templeton Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies, and was the basis for our first book, The View from the Center of the Universe: Discovering Our Extraordinary Place in the Cosmos (Penguin/Riverhead 2006), also published in several foreign editions (see http://viewfromthecenter.com/).  Nancy and I have given many public lectures on modern cosmology and its implications including the Sackler Lecture at Berkeley and public lectures at other universities including Cambridge, Columbia, Harvard, Oxford, Peking, Princeton, and Stanford, and at other venues around the world including the keynote talk at the 2008 Army Science Conference, the Benjamin Dean Lecture at the California Academy of Sciences, and the Frontiers of Astrophysics Lecture at the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History, New York (for a 2006-2013 list see http://new-universe.org/pastevents.html).  At Yale University in October 2009 we gave the Terry Lectures, which became the basis for The New Universe and the Human Future: How a Shared Cosmology Could Transform the World (Yale University Press, 2011, with associated website http://new-universe.org; Spanish edition El nuevo universo y el futuro de la humanidad: Cómo la nueva ciencia del cosmos transformará el mundo (Barcelona: Antoni Bosch, 2013) http://www.el-nuevo-universo.com/). 

Along with the books and lectures just mentioned, I have devoted much additional effort to public outreach.  I was one of the main advisors to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum IMAX film Cosmic Voyage (1995) and I co-organized with Owen Gingerich the AAAS Cosmic Questions conference at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (1999).  I have provided visualizations and advice for Adler, Hayden, and Morrison planetarium shows about cosmology (2010-2015) and I have explained and visualized the modern theory of the universe in TV documentaries such as National Geographic TV’s Inside the Milky Way (2010), where I also led a tour of NASA’s supercomputers at NASA Ames Research Center.  I have also given keynote talks about the research opportunities and computational challenges of modern cosmology and astrophysics at industrial conferences including the 2012 IEEE Aerospace Conference in Big Sky, Montana, the 2012 Huawei Cloud Congress in Shanghai, and the 2013 Vail Computer Elements Workshop.  My recent popular articles include “Universe on Fast Forward,” the cover article in the July 2012 Sky & Telescope, coauthored with Trudy Bell, and “The Cosmological Supercomputer,” IEEE Spectrum October 2012.  A coauthored article about the CANDELS survey is the cover article in the June 2014 Sky & Telescope.   An article about measuring all the light in the universe using gamma rays by my former PhD student Alberto Dominguez, me, and Trudy Bell is in the June 2015 issue of Scientific American.  I am also working on a popular book about computer simulations and big data in science, emphasizing cosmology and astrophysics.

 

 

 

Joel R. Primack  (refereed paper h-index: 70)

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications (in chronological order)

Supersymmetry, cosmology, and new physics at teraelectronvolt energies 1982, Phys. Rev. Letters 48, 223. Pagels, Heinz, and Primack, Joel R. (458 citations in NASA Astrophysics Data System as of 19 October 2016)

Formation of galaxies and large-scale structure with cold dark matter 1984, Nature 311, 517. Blumenthal, G. R., Faber, S. M., Primack, J. R., Rees, M. J. (1126 ADS cites)

Contraction of dark matter galactic halos due to baryonic infall 1986, ApJ 301, 27. Blumenthal, G. R., Faber, S. M., Flores, R., Primack, J. R. (866 ADS)

Detection of cosmic dark matter 1988, Ann. Rev. Nucl. Part. Phys. 38, 751. Primack, J. R., Seckel, D., Sadoulet, B. (364 ADS)

Dynamical effects of the cosmological constant 1991, MNRAS 251, 128. Lahav, Ofer, Lilje, Per B., Primack, Joel R., Rees, Martin J. (538 ADS)

Observational and theoretical constraints on singular dark matter halos 1994, ApJ 427, 1.  Flores, Ricardo A., Primack, Joel R. (469 ADS) *

Semi-analytic modeling of galaxy formation: the local Universe 1999, MNRAS 310, 1087. Somerville, Rachel S., Primack, Joel R. (804 ADS) *

The nature of high-redshift galaxies 2001, MNRAS 320, 504. Somerville, Rachel S.; Primack, Joel R., Faber, S. M. (559 ADS) *

Profiles of dark haloes: evolution, scatter and environment 2001, MNRAS 321, 559. Bullock, J. S., Kolatt, T. S., Sigad, Y., Somerville, R. S., Kravtsov, A. V., Klypin, A. A., Primack, J. R., Dekel, A. (1617 ADS) *

A Universal Angular Momentum Profile for Galactic Haloes 2001, ApJ 555, 240. Bullock, J. S., Dekel, A. Kolatt, T. S., Kravtsov, A. V., Klypin, A. A., Porciani, C., Primack, J. R. (514 ADS) *

Concentrations of dark halos from their assembly histories 2002, ApJ 568, 52. Wechsler, R. H., Bullock, J. S., Primack, J. R., Kravtsov, A. V., Dekel, A. (737 ADS) *

A New Non-Parametric Approach to Galaxy Morphological Classification 2004, AJ 128, 163-182. Jennifer M. Lotz, Joel Primack, and Piero Madau (332 ADS)

The shape of dark matter halos 2006, MNRAS 367, 1781. Allgood, B., Flores, R., Primack, J., Kravtsov, A., Wecsler, R., Faltenbacher, A., Bullock, J. (332 ADS) *

Feedback in Simulations of Disk Galaxy Major Mergers 2006, MNRAS 373, 1013. T. J. Cox, Patrik Jonsson, Joel R. Primack, and Rachel S. Somerville (225 ADS) *

Simulations of Dust in Interacting Galaxies I: Dust Attenuation 2006, ApJ 637, 255. Patrik Jonsson, T. J. Cox, Joel R. Primack, Rachel S. Somerville (64 ADS) *

GeV Gamma-Ray Attenuation and the High-Redshift UV Background 2009, MNRAS 402, 565. R.C. Gilmore, P. Madau, J. R. Primack, R. S. Somerville, F. Haardt (131 ADS) *

Extragalactic background light inferred from AEGIS galaxy-SED-type fractions 2011, MNRAS 410, 2556, A. Dominguez, J. R. Primack, et al. (226 ADS) *

Halos and galaxies in the standard cosmological model: results from the Bolshoi simulation 2011, ApJ 740, 102. A. Klypin, S. Trujillo-Gomez, J. Primack (451 ADS)

* These papers are based on PhD dissertation research supervised by Joel Primack

 

Magazine Articles

How Can Physicists Help the Public Make Better Decisions About Science and Technology?, APS: The Back Page, July 2016

How Physicists Can Help the Public Make Better Decisions About Science and Technology – Historical Background, Physics and Society, July 2016

All the Light There Ever Was, Scientific American, June 2015

Staring Back to Cosmic Dawn, Sky and Telescope cover article, June 2014

The Universe in a Supercomputer, IEEE Spectrum, October 2012

Universe in a Box: From the Big Bang to Now, Sky&Telescope cover article, July 2012

 

 

 

Publications with Nancy Abrams

View from the Center of the Universe by Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack

Papers on Cosmology and Culture by Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack

Dwight H. Terry Lectures: Cosmic Society: The New Universe and the Human Future by Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack

The New Universe and the Human Future: How a Shared Cosmology Could Transform the World by Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack

 

View as a PDF

 

Joel R. Primack

Distinguished Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Cruz
Office Phone: (831) 459-2580, Fax: -3043; Cell: 831 345-8960; Email: joel@ucsc.edu

Education: Princeton University A.B. 1966 Physics (Summa cum Laude, Valedictorian); Stanford University PhD 1970 Physics

Academic Positions: Junior Fellow, Society of Fellows, Harvard University 1970-73 Assistant Professor of Physics, UCSC 1973-1977; Associate Professor of Physics, UCSC, 1977-1983; Professor of Physics, UCSC 1983-present; Distinguished Professor 2007-; Director, University of California systemwide High-Performance Astro-Computing Center, 2010-; Chair, UCSC Committee on Computing and Telecommunications, 2008- 2011; Chair, University Committee on Computing and Communications, 2010-12

Advice (partial list): SAGENAP advisory panel to DOE/NSF 2000-2001; NSF Astronomy Theory Review Panel 2000; DOE Lehman Review of SNAP Proposal 2001; Chair, NASA Cosmology panel on LTSA and ADP 2001; Cosmology Panel, Hubble Space Telescope Time Allocation Committee 2003; Ed Board, Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 2003-06; National Academy Beyond Einstein panel, 2006-07; National Academy Review of NASA Technology Roadmap, 2010-11.

American Physical Society activities (partial list): Executive Committee, APS Division of Astrophysics, 2000-2002; APS Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) 2002-2004; Chair, POPA Task Force on Moon-Mars Program and Funding for Astrophysics 2004; Chair, APS Forum on Physics and Society 2005; Chair, APS Sakharov Prize committee 2009

Outreach (partial list): Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Advisory Committee on Cosmic Voyage IMAX film, 1994-1996. Co-organizer, "Cosmic Questions" Conference, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, April 14-16, 1999. Over 100 public lectures on cosmology, including Sackler Lecture (UC Berkeley, 2006); J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Lecture (Los Alamos, 2007); APS Public Lecture (St. Louis, 2008); Terry Lectures (with Nancy Abrams, Yale, 2009)

Honors (partial list): A. P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, 1974-1978.
American Physical Society Forum on Physics and Society Award, 1977; Fellow, 1988.
American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow, 1995.
Humboldt Senior Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, 1999-2004.
Spirit of Rustum Roy Award, Chopra Foundation, 2012.

Books

  • Joel R. Primack and Frank von Hippel, Advice and Dissent: Scientists in the Political Arena (New York: Basic Books, 1974; New American Library, 1976).
  • Joel R. Primack and Nancy Ellen Abrams, The View from the Center of the Universe: Discovering Our Extraordinary Place in the Cosmos (New York: Riverhead/Penguin, 2006; London: HarperCollins, 2006; Paris: Laffont, 2008; and other foreign editions).
  • Nancy Ellen Abrams and Joel R. Primack, The New Universe and the Human Future: How a Shared Cosmology Could Transform the World (Yale University Press, 2011).

Selected peer-reviewed publications (in chronological order)

Supersymmetry, cosmology, and new physics at teraelectronvolt energies 1982, Phys. Rev. Letters 48, 223. Pagels, Heinz, and Primack, Joel R. (369 citations in NASA Astrophysics Data System)

Formation of galaxies and large-scale structure with cold dark matter 1984, Nature 311, 517. Blumenthal, G. R., Faber, S. M., Primack, J. R., Rees, M. J. (928 ADS cites)

Contraction of dark matter galactic halos due to baryonic infall 1986, ApJ 301, 27. Blumenthal, G. R., Faber, S. M., Flores, R., Primack, J. R. (632 ADS)

Dynamical effects of the cosmological constant 1991, MNRAS 251, 128. Lahav, Ofer, Lilje, Per B., Primack, Joel R., Rees, Martin J. (441 ADS)

Semi-analytic modeling of galaxy formation: the local Universe 1999, MNRAS 310, 1087. Somerville, Rachel S., Primack, Joel R. (652 ADS) *

The nature of high-redshift galaxies 2001, MNRAS 320, 504. Somerville, Rachel S.; Primack, Joel R., Faber, S. M. (489 ADS) *
Profiles of dark haloes: evolution, scatter and environment 2001, MNRAS 321, 559. Bullock, J. S., Kolatt, T. S., Sigad, Y., Somerville, R. S., Kravtsov, A. V., Klypin, A. A., Primack, J. R., Dekel, A. (1235 ADS) *

Concentrations of dark halos from their assembly histories 2002, ApJ 568, 52. Wechsler, R. H., Bullock, J. S., Primack, J. R., Kravtsov, A. V., Dekel, A. (499 ADS) *

A New Non-Parametric Approach to Galaxy Morphological Classification 2004, AJ 128, 163-182. Jennifer M. Lotz, Joel Primack, and Piero Madau (180 ADS)

The shape of dark matter halos 2006, MNRAS 367, 1781-1796. Allgood, B., Flores, R., Primack, J., Kravtsov, A., Wecsler, R., Faltenbacher, A., Bullock, J. (190 ADS) *

Feedback in Simulations of Disk Galaxy Major Mergers 2006, MNRAS 373, 1013. T. J. Cox, Patrik Jonsson, Joel R. Primack, and Rachel S. Somerville (149 ADS) *

Simulations of Dust in Interacting Galaxies I: Dust Attenuation 2006, ApJ 637, 255. Patrik Jonsson, T. J. Cox, Joel R. Primack, Rachel S. Somerville *

Predicting the Properties of the Remnants of Dissipative Galaxy Mergers 2008, MNRAS 384, 94. M. Covington, A. Dekel, T. J. Cox, P. Jonsson, and J. R. Primack *

GeV Gamma-Ray Attenuation and the High-Redshift UV Background 2009, MNRAS 402, 565. R.C. Gilmore, P. Madau, J. R. Primack, R. S. Somerville, F. Haardt *

Extragalactic background light inferred from AEGIS galaxy-SED-type fractions 2011, MNRAS 410, 2556, A. Dominguez, J. R. Primack, et al. *

Halos and galaxies in the standard cosmological model: results from the Bolshoi simulation 2011, ApJ, 740, 102. A. Klypin, S. Trujillo-Gomez, J. Primack

* These papers are based on PhD dissertation research supervised by Joel Primack

 

Videos

Popular Lectures (solo)

Sages & Scientists 2012

Introductory popular lecture on modern cosmology by Joel Primack in Jerusalem

Inside the Milky Way (National Geographic TV documentary featuring Joel)

 

Popular lectures (with Nancy Abrams)
TEDxSantaCruz 2014 Changing the World with a Shared Cosmology

Introductory popular lectures by Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack (Terry lectures at Yale 2009) :

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akQfew1EGXY
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0AKR-zawY8
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSdsT9Zx2Zg
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRX6GdUz-Yw

 

Army Science Conference 2008 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxZjl3xob_k

 

Scientific Lectures

New Insights on Galaxy Formation from Observations and Simulations
video: https://vimeo.com/album/2690857/video/169121636

slides: http://physics.ucsc.edu/~joel/Primack-GalSimsvsObs-SCI-April2016.pdf

Structure Formation in the Universe 2014
video:https://goo.gl/0NlTo5

slides:http://physics.ucsc.edu/~joel/Primack-Tenerife.pdf

History of Dark Matter 2013
video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJVgC9tUBqM

slides:http://physics.ucsc.edu/~joel/Primack-Lect1-LCDM_History.pdf

Introduction to Cosmology 2013
video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUsBZDATBpg

slides:http://physics.ucsc.edu/~joel/Primack-Lect2-Cosmology-Intro.pdf

Simulating the Universe 2013
video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwjz0s-K6OU

slides:http://physics.ucsc.edu/~joel/Primack-Lect3SuperComputing_the_Universe.pdf

 

Popular interviews

Deepak Chopra audio Dark Matter interview March 2016 http://bit.ly/1UKIWd2

Deepak Chopra Curious Minds interview 2015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rT0RTsTAbbY

Cosmic Questions Conference (Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC 1999, but still interesting)  http://www.counterbalance.org/cqinterv/jpr-frame.html

Videos

Popular Lectures (solo)

Sages & Scientists 2012

Introductory popular lecture on modern cosmology by Joel Primack in Jerusalem

Inside the Milky Way (National Geographic TV documentary featuring Joel)

 

Popular lectures (with Nancy Abrams)
TEDxSantaCruz 2014 Changing the World with a Shared Cosmology

Introductory popular lectures by Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack (Terry lectures at Yale 2009) :

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akQfew1EGXY
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0AKR-zawY8
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSdsT9Zx2Zg
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRX6GdUz-Yw

 

Army Science Conference 2008 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxZjl3xob_k

 

Scientific Lectures

New Insights on Galaxy Formation from Observations and Simulations
video: https://vimeo.com/album/2690857/video/169121636

slides: http://physics.ucsc.edu/~joel/Primack-GalSimsvsObs-SCI-April2016.pdf

Structure Formation in the Universe 2014
video:https://goo.gl/0NlTo5

slides:http://physics.ucsc.edu/~joel/Primack-Tenerife.pdf

History of Dark Matter 2013
video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJVgC9tUBqM

slides:http://physics.ucsc.edu/~joel/Primack-Lect1-LCDM_History.pdf

Introduction to Cosmology 2013
video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUsBZDATBpg

slides:http://physics.ucsc.edu/~joel/Primack-Lect2-Cosmology-Intro.pdf

Simulating the Universe 2013
video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwjz0s-K6OU

slides:http://physics.ucsc.edu/~joel/Primack-Lect3SuperComputing_the_Universe.pdf

Popular interviews

Deepak Chopra audio Dark Matter interview March 2016 http://bit.ly/1UKIWd2

Deepak Chopra Curious Minds interview 2015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rT0RTsTAbbY

Cosmic Questions Conference (Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC 1999, but still interesting)  http://www.counterbalance.org/cqinterv/jpr-frame.html

 

 

 

 

 

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Content 8