Senior Fellow

Benjamin Schmitt is a joint senior fellow at the Kleinman Center and the physics department at the School of Arts and Sciences. He previously was a postdoctoral research fellow and project development scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics where he focused on the development of instrumentation and infrastructure for next-generation Antarctic experimental cosmology facilities at the South Pole, including work with both the BICEP Array and CMB-S4 programs.

Schmitt is the co-founder of the Space Diplomacy Lab at the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS) and a fellow of the Rethinking Diplomacy program. As a senior fellow for democratic resilience at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), he focuses on transatlantic energy and national security analysis, as well as emerging space security challenges to the transatlantic community.

He has served as European energy security advisor at the U.S. Department of State where he advanced diplomatic engagement vital to the energy and national security, with a focus on supporting the resilience of NATO’s eastern flank as it faced Russian malign energy activities.

Before entering government, Schmitt served as a NASA space technology research fellow while pursuing doctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania.  His dissertation research focused on the development of next-generation millimeter-wavelength imaging technologies for the temperature and polarization mapping of the CMB from the Atacama Desert of Northern Chile. For this work, he received master’s and Ph.D. degrees in experimental physics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Schmitt also earned his bachelor’s degree at Penn in physics and astronomy. He holds a bachelor’s degree in both mathematics and modern German languages and cultures from the University of Rochester.