Department of Science/Mathematics Education

School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Faculty Profiles

Russell Hulse, Ph.D.
Nobel Laureate

“My career in science began as a youngster who was captivated by how science opened his eyes to the fascinating world around him. That fascination eventually led to an exciting scientific adventure as a graduate student and a discovery for which I was awarded a Nobel Prize. The experience of receiving the Nobel led me to a new focus on bringing the excitement and adventure of science to a new generation of kids and adults through community-based science education.”

The discovery to which Hulse refers was the detection of the first binary pulsar – a twin star system that provides a rare natural laboratory in which to test Albert Einstein’s prediction that moving objects emit gravitational waves, as well as other aspects of his general theory of relativity. The discovery was made in 1974 by Hulse, then a 23-year-old graduate student, and his thesis adviser, Dr. Joseph Taylor Jr., utilizing the 1,000-foot radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The pair shared the Nobel Prize in physics in 1993.

The discovery of the binary pulsar has been ranked by many as among the most significant scientific breakthroughs in the 20th Century, with implications for the fields of astrophysics and gravitational physics.

Hulse joined UTD in January 2004, when he became a visiting professor of physics and of science and mathematics education. During his appointment at UTD, Hulse has retained his affiliation with Princeton University, where he is a principal research physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

In recent years, Hulse has become deeply interested in the state of science and math education in the nation’s primary and secondary schools and how best to improve and expand it both within and outside of the classroom.

  • Updated: November 17, 2006