Brian Keating

Brian Keating

Formal First Name
1971 - present

Brian Keating is a Chancellor's Distinguished Professor of Physics at the Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences in the Department of Physics at the University of California, San Diego. Brian and his team develop instrumentation to study the early universe at radio, microwave and infrared wavelengths. A renowned cosmologist, he works on observations of the cosmic microwave background, leading the BICEP, POLARBEAR2 and Simons Array experiments. He is also a public speaker, inventor, and an expert in the study of the universe’s oldest light, the cosmic microwave background, using it to learn about the origin and evolution of the universe. Brian is a podcaster and bestselling author of “Losing the Nobel Prize,” which was selected as one of the Best Science Books of the Year by Amazon, Science Friday, and Science News.

Professional Experience

Academic History


  • Brian is a pilot with a multi-engine turbine license, serving as a Command Pilot for Angel Flight West.

  • He is a pioneer in the search for the earliest physical evidence of the inflationary epoch, the theorized period of expansion of space in the early universe directly after the Big Bang.

  • He has lectured on six of seven continents, and his lectures have been seen in person and online by over 5 million viewers.


  • He researches cosmology, focusing on the study of the cosmic microwave background and its relationship to the origin and evolution of the universe.

  • He conceived the BICEP, Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization instrument, which was observed from the South Pole.

  • In 2016, he convinced the Simons Foundation to provide US$38.4m of funding for what later became the Simons Array.

  • He co-leads POLARBEAR2 and the Simons Array in Chile, and has raised around US$100m of funding for CMB telescopes.


  • Brian has hosted the "Clarke Center Into the Impossible" podcast since 2016, where he interviews scientists, leaders and intellectuals.

  • As of 2022, it has around 50,000 subscribers, and has hosted 11 Nobel Prize winners and two recipients of the Pulitzer Prize.

  • Each episode is a long-form conversation with nobel laureates, scientists, writers and other notable individuals such as Noam Chomsky, Eric Weinstein, Jill Tarter, Sara Seager, and nobel prize winners interviewed for his books.


  • Trustee, San Diego Air & Space Museum

  • Advisory Council, Reuben H. Fleet Museum

  • Honorary Member, National Society of Black Physicists


  • 2005 NSF Career Grant 

  • 2006 Presidential Early Career Award

  • 2007 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

  • 2014 Buchalter Cosmology Prize

  • 2016 Fellow of the American Physical Society

  • 2018/2019 Excellence in Stewardship Award


  • Superconducting Tunnel Junction Fabrication

  • Wide-bandwidth Polarization Modular for Microwave and mm-Wavelengths


  • Brian appeared in the Michael Shermer Show podcast in 2019, and the Lex Fridman Podcast in 2022.

  • He recorded videos for PragerU, and has talked about popular science connected with The Witcher television series.

  • He also appeared in the "Mysteries of the Moon'' episode of The UnXplained.