Gordon T. Richards, PhD

Associate Professor

Gordon Richards

Office: Disque Hall 812
Phone: 215.895.2713

Website: Personal Page, Group Page


  • AB, Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University 1994
  • SM, Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago 1995
  • PhD, Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago 2000

Research Interests

Quasars, Active Galactic Nuclei, Supermassive Black Holes, Sky Surveys, Gravitational Lensing, Galaxy Evolution


Professor Richards is an expert in the identification of quasars and active galactic nuclei (AGNs) through modern statistical methods using imaging data (pictures) from large astronomical sky surveys, particularly the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Quasars and AGNs are galaxies in which new material is currently falling into supermassive black holes at their centers. He is particularly interested in understanding the accretion disks that feed these massive black holes, how mass and energy ejected from these black holes influences the evolution of galaxies over time, and how large quasar samples can be used as statistical probes of the structure of the Universe.

Richards frequently uses both space-based observatories such as the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and Chandra X-ray Observatory in addition to ground-based observatories such at the 4-m Mayall Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory and the Very Large Array radio telescope. He serves as the co-deputy chair of the SDSS quasar working group and is a member of the AGN science collaboration for the upcoming LSST project. He is co-author of 145 articles in refereed journal and is frequently invited to give talks on his work, including recent talks in Paris, Marseilles, and Munich. Prof. Richards was one of 23 physicists (3 in astrophysics) selected for the prestigious Alfred P. Sloan research fellowships in 2007.