Nobel Prize Winner To Speak At BU

March 8, 2006
News Photo 3395Dr. Russell Hulse

Nobel Prize winner Russell Hulse, a principal research physicist at Princeton University and a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, will be the featured speaker at Baylor University's Research Scholars Appreciation Colloquium. The reception, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, in room B.110 of the Baylor Sciences Building.

Hulse's lecture, "An Astronomical Detective Story: The Discovery of the Binary Pulsar," is a personal narrative of his discovery as a graduate student of the first binary pulsar. A pulsar is a source of pulsating electromagnetic radiation in the galaxy. Hulse found the first pulsar to be in orbit around another star. In 1993, Hulse shared the Nobel Prize in physics for finding the binary pulsar. The star system discovery gave scientists a natural laboratory to test Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, which, in turn, led to the first observational evidence of the existence of gravitational radiation. Hulse said his discovery allowed scientists to prove Einstein's theory, something scientists had been waiting to do for nearly a century. It also led to explain other aspects of the relativity theory like gravitational red shift.

"The discovery of the binary pulsar was really the big new thing, but it was part of a much larger package of observations, which confirmed in great detail all of Einstein's Theory of Relativity," Hulse said. "The bulk of the story is about the process I went through to make this discovery. It took months and hopefully it will connect with students because I was a graduate student when I did this, not a professor."

Hulse has since authored hundreds of books and papers on topics ranging from the discovery of the binary pulsar to computer modeling of transport and atomic processes in tokamak-controlled thermonuclear fusion plasmas. At Princeton, his research mainly focuses around this type of computer modeling. Hulse also is active in science education initiatives, with an emphasis on improving the role science museums and centers play as an educational resource for communities across the country. Many of these initiatives include implementing programs of small-scale science centers in public libraries called Contact Science.

Media contact: Frank Raczkiewicz, (254) 710-1964

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