Tom Murphy

I am a Professor in the physics department at UCSD, and the Associate Director of CASS, the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences. From 2003–2020, I led the APOLLO project as an ultra-precise test of General Relativity using the technique of lunar laser ranging. My interests are transitioning to quantitative assessment of the challenges associated with long-term human success on a finite planet.

See also the more polished bio on the CASS Website.

In 2014, I started a company (Aircraft Avoidance Systems) to provide safety devices for observatories using lasers for scientific research.

Energy And Human Ambitions on a Finite Planet

I released a new textbook in March 2021 addressing the challenges facing humanity this century relating to growth, energy resources, and human factors.

The book is available as a free PDF at eScholarship, and as a paperback (at print-cost) at Lulu. A page on this site is also provided for submitting corrections and other feedback.


Selected Publications (PDF)

BASH Compendium: collection of CASS e-mails from Nathan Johnson about weekly social hour

Course Links:


Do the Math Blog on Energy, Growth, Options

Energy-Related Publications

Have a Revolutionary Idea?

If you are contemplating sending your physics idea to me, first try taking this quiz and see how it fares.