Early life and education
Interview with Brian Schmidt after his Nobel lecture
Schmidt, an only child, was born on 24 February 1967, in Missoula, Montana, where his father Dana C. Schmidt was a fisheries biologist. When he was 13, his family relocated to Anchorage, Alaska.
Schmidt attended Bartlett High School in Anchorage, Alaska, and graduated in 1985. He has said that he wanted to be a meteorologist "since I was about five-years-old [but] ... I did some work at the USA National Weather Service up in Anchorage and didn't enjoy it very much. It was less scientific, not as exciting as I thought it would be—there was a lot of routine. But I guess I was just a little naive about what being a meteorologist meant." His decision to study astronomy, which he had seen as "a minor pastime", was made just before he enrolled at university. Even then, he was not fully committed: he said "I'll do astronomy and change into something else later", and just never made that change.
He graduated with a BS (Physics) and BS (Astronomy) from the University of Arizona in 1989. He received his AM (Astronomy) in 1992 and then PhD (Astronomy) in 1993 from Harvard University. Schmidt's PhD thesis was supervised by Robert Kirshner and used Type II Supernovae to measure the Hubble Constant.
While at Harvard, he met his future wife, the Australian (Jenny) Jennifer M. Gordon who was a PhD student in economics. In 1994, they moved to Australia.