Rachel Bean

Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Astronomy


As the leader of the largest and most academically diverse college at Cornell, she is responsible for an institution with 520 professorial faculty, 400 academic professionals and staff, 4600 undergraduates and 1300 graduate students. The College offers 40 undergraduate majors and 35 graduate fields, and boasts a network of over 65,000 alumni.

Before serving as Interim Dean, Rachel served as the Senior Associate Dean for Science and Math and, prior to that, as the Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, overseeing admissions, advising, career development and registrar services, and the undergraduate curriculum. She has also served as the chair of the Faculty Diversity Committee and the chair of the Data Science Curriculum Committee in the College of Arts of Sciences, following which she spearheaded the introduction of a university-wide undergraduate minor in data science.

Rachel’s research is in the field of cosmology, the study of how the universe began and evolved into what we see today. Her work focuses on extracting information about cosmological theories, deciphering the properties of matter and gravity on cosmic scales and the physics of the early universe, using astrophysical observations of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and galaxies (large-scale structure).

She is involved in a number of astronomical experiments. These include the science teams for large-scale structure experiments: the Vera Rubin Telescope (LSST), the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) and the NASA science teams for the Euclid and Roman Space Telescope missions. She is also involved in CMB/sub-millimeter experiments, including the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT), the Simons Observatory, CMB-S4 and the Cornell-led Fred Young Submillimeter Telescope (FYST).

She served as the collaboration leader for the LSST Dark Energy Science Collaboration, an international collaboration of over 500 scientists, and as a member of the U.S. Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Council (AAAC), that advises NSF, NASA and the DOE on areas of mutual interest/concern.

Rachel is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE), from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and a Cottrell Scholar Award, for excellence in research and teaching. As a member of the NASA Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) science team, she was a co-recipient of the 2012 Gruber Prize and the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

Rachel has been a faculty member in the Department of Astronomy at Cornell since 2005. Prior to that, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University. She received a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in theoretical physics from Imperial College London and a B.A. Hons. in Natural Sciences from Cambridge University.

Research Focus

Theoretical cosmology and its ties to astrophysical observations.


* indicates paper first-authored by a graduate student in Professor Bean’s research group

  1. C. Wilson* and R. Bean, “Challenges in Constraining Gravity with Cosmic Voids”, Phys.Rev.D 107 (2023) 12, 124008, arXiv: 2212:02569.
  2. L. Wenzl*, C. Doux, C. Heinrich, R. Bean, B. Jain, O. Doré, T. Eifler, X. Fang, “Cosmology with the Roman Space Telescope -- Synergies with CMB lensing”, MNRAS 512 (2022) 4, 5311, arXiv: 2112:07681.
  3. R. Liu, G. Valogiannis*, N. Battaglia and R. Bean, “Constraints on f(R) and nDGP Modified Gravity Model Parameters with Cluster Abundances and Galaxy Clustering”, PRD in press, arXiv:2101.08728.
  4. V. Calafut*, P. A. Gallardo, E. M. Vavagiakis, S. Amodeo, et al., “The Atacama Cosmology Telescope: Detection of the Pairwise Kinematic Sunyaev-Zel’dovich Effect with SDSS DR15 Galaxies”, Phys.Rev.D 104 (2021) 4, 043502, arXiv:2101.08374.
  5. E. M. Vavagiakis, P. A. Gallardo, V. Calafut*, S. Amodeo, et al., The Atacama Cosmology Telescope: Probing the Baryon Content of SDSS DR15 Galaxies with the Thermal and Kinematic Sunyaev-Zel’dovich Effects”, Phys.Rev.D 104 (2021) 4, 043503, arXiv:2101.08373.
  6. C. Wilson* and R. Bean, “Testing f(R) Gravity With Scale Dependent Cosmic Void Velocity Profiles”, Phys. Rev. D 104, 023512 (2021), arXiv: 2012.05925.
  7. A. Aviles, G. Valogiannis*, M. A. Rodriguez-Mez, J. L. Cervantes-Cota, B. Li and R. Bean, “Redshift space power spectrum beyond Einstein-de Sitter kernels, JCAP 04 (2021) 039, arXiv: 2012.05077.
  8. S. Alam et al, “Testing the theory of gravity with DESI: estimators, predictions and simulation requirements”, JCAP in press, arXiv: 2011.05771. (Bean and B. Li co-coordinated/co-edited in DESI C3 working group. G. Valogiannis also a co-author).
  9. *G. Valogiannis, R. Bean and A. Aviles “An accurate perturbative approach to redshift space clustering of biased tracers in modified gravity”, JCAP 01 (2020) 055, arXiv:1909.05261.
  10. *G. Valogiannis and R. Bean, “Convolution Lagrangian Perturbation Theory for biased tracers beyond general relativity”, Phys. Rev. D 99, 063526 (2019), arXiv:1901:03763.

In the news