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Nobel Laureate Dr. Russell Hulse
RICHARDSON, Texas (Aug. 4, 2003) — As a research student, Dr. Russell Hulse, together with his thesis advisor, Dr. Joseph Taylor, made a discovery that provided some of the best "cosmic laboratory" evidence in support of Einstein’s theory of general relativity and won them the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics. Hulse, now the principal research physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University, will visit The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) next month to give a Distinguished Researcher Lecture entitled "An Astronomical Detective Story: The Discovery of the Binary Pulsar" to mark the 10-year anniversary of winning the Nobel Prize.
"At our accelerated pace to become a national recognized research university, we intend to attract more nationally known scholars to campus. Having Russell here certainly will be a significant step in fulfilling this mission," said Dr. Da Hsuan Feng, vice president for research and graduate education at UTD. "The groundbreaking discovery of Dr. Hulse, in collaboration with Dr. Taylor, was a watershed event in firmly establishing Einstein’s theory of general relativity, one of the few great discoveries, on a par with quantum mechanics and the DNA structure, in the 20th century. I am truly excited to have Dr. Hulse on campus so that he can interact with our faculty and students."
Hulse will give his presentation on Friday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. in the main auditorium of the Conference Center on the UTD campus. A reception in honor of Hulse will follow. The two events will be free and open to the public.
Hulse won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the first binary pulsar, a discovery he made in 1974 with Taylor, then a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, using the 300-m radiotelescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
The discovery of the first binary pulsar is of great significance for astrophysics and gravitational physics research. A binary pulsar is a small and dense neutron star with two heavy bodies that rotate very fast around each other and emit regular pulses of polarized radiation. The significance of this discovery is that the behavior of these two bodies deviates greatly from what classical Newtonian mechanics predicts. The behavior of this system has been studied closely and used to verify Einstein’s general theory of relativity, especially the existence of gravitational radiation.
In 1977, Hulse changed fields from astrophysics to plasma physics and joined the Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University. There he conducted research associated with the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor, an experimental nuclear-fusion facility.
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