Daniel Baumann, professor of Theoretical Cosmology

7 March 2016

Daniel Baumann has been appointed professor of Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Science. The chair is meant to strengthen the UvA’s Institute of Physics and will be closely connected to its research priority area Gravitational Astroparticle Physics.

Dr Baumann works on a wide range of topics in theoretical cosmology. One of the main goals of his research is to uncover the fundamental origin of the structure of the universe. He is an expert on the theory of cosmological inflation, which proposes that cosmological structures were produced by quantum fluctuations in a period of rapid expansion.  

While inflation has enjoyed great success as a phenomenological model of the early universe, a fundamental understanding of the physics of inflation remains elusive. Dr Baumann has made important contributions to connecting inflation with particle physics beyond the Standard Model. In particular, together with Prof. Liam McAllister (Cornell), Baumann constructed the first explicit models of inflation in string theory. Moreover, Baumann and Prof. Daniel Green (Berkeley) showed how inflationary non-Gaussianity can be used as a test for supersymmetry in the early universe. In addition, he has made a significant contribution to the study of gravitational clustering by proposing a new effective field theory approach to treat nonlinearities in cosmological perturbation theory. He has also played an influential role in developing the science case for a future CMB satellite. As professor of Theoretical Cosmology at the UvA, Baumann will establish a new cosmology group to investigate the physics of the early universe and to determine new ways in which these ideas can be tested in future observations.

Baumann obtained his doctorate from Princeton University in 2008, after which he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University and at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Since 2011, he has been a faculty member at Cambridge University’s Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP).

In addition to his research work, Baumann is also a passionate lecturer. At Cambridge, he taught the popular course ‘Concepts in Theoretical Physics’, which introduced first year undergraduates to the central topics of modern theoretical physics. Baumann is also a frequent lecturer at schools for graduate students and young researchers. At the UvA, he will be teaching the Master’s courses on Cosmology and Quantum Field Theory.

Over the course of his career, Baumann has been the recipient of various awards and grants, including a prestigious ERC starting grant (2012).

Published by  UvA Persvoorlichting