J. Richard (Dick) Bond Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Science

Theoretical studies of the cosmic background radiation and dark energy, and lead theoretician on the Boomerang experiment.

The Story

Dr. Bond started his career at the University of Toronto where he got a degree in mathematics and physics in 1973. He moved to California and studied at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), getting a master's degree in theoretical physics in 1975 and then a doctorate in 1979. He returned to Toronto in 1985, where he has since helped establish Canada as a world centre for cosmology.

He is the current Director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research's (CIFAR's) Cosmology & Gravity Program, and helped found the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA). In recognition of these achievements, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in September 2005.

As a cosmologist, he is best known for his studies of the cosmic background radiation (CBR). The CBR includes the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation. When we look at the CBR, we are seeing our 12 to 14 billion year old universe when it was very young, only 300,000 years old. The CBR is the light that was emitted when the universe had cooled enough for protons and electrons to start combining into atoms. You can see this faint radiation by disconnecting the cable from a television set and turning to a channel that is complete static. About 1% of that static is due to the CBR; photons which have been travelling through space for about 12 billion years.

There are many things we can find out by studying the CBR, but one of them is what the universe will be like in the future. Dr. Bond was one of the people who developed the theory and provided the calculations that could be used to figure out the shape of the universe, and therefore its fate. The shape determines whether or not the universe will expand forever, or will eventually contract into what is called the "Big Crunch."

To determine the shape, precise measurements of the CBR were made in 1998 and 2003 by the Boomerang experiment, where Dr. Bond was the lead theoretician. Analysis of the data showed that the universe is flat but at the same time expanding. The expansion is due to the probable existence of dark energy, which was first proposed by (but later rejected by) Albert Einstein.

Author: Jeff Schering

You can find a more extensive biography of Dr. Bond on NSERC at http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Prizes-Prix/Excellence-Excellence/Profiles-Profils_eng.asp?ID=1010

A starting point for more data on the Cosmic Background Radiation is here: http://www.astro.ubc.ca/people/scott/faq_basic.html

Homepage for the CIFAR Cosmology and Gravity Program, where Dr. Bond is the Director: http://www.cifar.ca/j-richard-bond!OpenDocument&language=english

Homepage of the Boomerang Experiment is here: http://cmb.phys.cwru.edu/boomerang/index.html

Career ideas:

  • research scientist, physics
  • research scientist, electronics
  • research scientist, communications
  • research scientist, aerospace
  • research scientist, remote sensing
  • nuclear physicist
  • optics physicist
  • plasma physicist
  • solid state physicist
  • astrophysicist
  • cosmologist
  • experimental physicist

The Person

Toronto, Ontario
Toronto, Ontario
Director and Professor
CIAR, CITA, University of Toronto
  • B.Sc., Mathematics and Physics, University of Toronto, 1973
  • M.S., Theoretical Physics, Caltech, 1975
  • Ph.D., Theoretical Physics, Caltech, 1979
  • E.W.R. Steacie Prize, 1989
  • CAP/CRM Prize in Theoretical and Mathematical Physics, 1998
  • NSERC Award of Excellence, 2003
  • Officer of the Order of Canada, 2005
  • Herzberg Gold Medal (Canada), 2007
Last Updated
December 4, 2011

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