US theoretical astrophysicist whose main research has been into the
nature and composition of intergalactic matter and the properties of
residual radiation in space.
Field was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and educated at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology and Princeton University. He became professor
at the University of California at Berkeley 1965 and at Harvard University
1972; from 1973 he was also director of the Center of Astrophysics at
the Harvard College Observatory and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
One of Field's major areas of research has been to investigate why a
cluster of galaxies remains a cluster rather than dispersing. They are
thought to be stabilized gravitationally by intergalactic matter, mainly
hydrogen and helium. By studying part of the spectrum of the radio source
Cygnus A, Field found in 1958 some evidence of atomic hydrogen distributed
Field has also carried out research into the lines in the spectra of