Richard A. Muller

Geologist and Astrophysicist Class of 1982
location icon Location
Berkeley, California
age iconAge
38 at time of award

About Richard's Work

Richard Muller is a physicist and an inventor whose contributions are both experimental and theoretical.

His experimental work on cosmic radiation from the origin of the universe provided the first direct measurement of the velocity of the earth.  He invented Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, the most sensitive method of detecting low levels of radioactivity and of dating samples for archaeology and geology.  He and his group at Berkeley have built a system for the identification of astrophysical phenomena.  As a result, they have discovered numerous supernovae.  Based on an observed periodicity in mass extinctions of species on Earth, his work predicted the existence of a small star orbiting the sun, which he calls Nemesis. Muller is the author of several books including Nemesis (1988), The Three Big Bangs (1996), and Ice Ages and Astronomical Causes (2000).


Since 1978, Muller has been a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley and, since 1979, a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, where he is associated with the Institute for Nuclear and Particle Astrophysics.  His articles have appeared in such publications as Nature, Geophysical Research Letters, and Science.

Muller received an A.B. (1964) from Columbia University and a Ph.D. (1969) from the University of California, Berkeley.

Last updated January 1, 2005.

Published on August 1, 1982

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