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Russell A. Hulse

Russell A. HulseAKA Russell Alan Hulse

Born: 28-Nov-1950
Birthplace: New York City

Gender: Male
Religion: Atheist [1]
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Physicist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Co-Discovered first binary pulsar

American plasma physicist Russell A. Hulse studied under Joseph H. Taylor, Jr. at the University of Massachusetts, and with Taylor he co-discovered dozens of pulsars. Among these was PSR B1913+16, in the constellation Aquila, discovered while working at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Hulse noted that the pulse rate of PSR B1913+16 was not consistent, and after ruling out a computer programming error, he noted that its pulses were actually cyclical, repeating at a rate of just less than once every eight hours. Hulse theorized that this particular pulsar was binary, a rapidly spinning neutron star orbiting a nearby companion object. In collaboration with Taylor, Hulse proved that PSR B1913+16 was the first known binary pulsar (two pulsars orbiting each other), and determined its key properties.

Of greater significance, the interacting gravitational fields of these two neutron stars allowed Hulse, Taylor, and other scientists to craft a methodology for detecting gravitational waves, which were predicted by Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, effectively verifying Einstein's theory for a system outside our solar system. Hulse and Taylor's discovery has been ranked among the most important scientific accomplishments of the 20th Century, and has had major ramifications across numerous disciplines of physics. For their "discovery of a new type of pulsar, a discovery that has opened up new possibilities for the study of gravitation", Hulse and Taylor shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1993. Since 1977 Hulse has studied plasma physics at Princeton.

[1] "I consider myself a very moral person but I do not need a religion for that."

Father: Alan Hulse
Mother: Betty Joan Hulse
Girlfriend: Jeanne Kuhlman (for decades)

    High School: Bronx High School of Science, Bronx, NY (1966)
    University: BS, Cooper Union (1970)
    Scholar: Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, Cornell University (1974)
    University: PhD, University of Massachusetts at Amherst (1975)
    Scholar: National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville, VA (1975-77)
    Scholar: Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University (1977-)
    Professor: Physics, Science, and Math Education, University of Texas at Dallas (2004-)

    Nobel Prize for Physics 1993 (with Joseph H. Taylor, Jr.)
    Aurora Imaging Technology Advisory Board (2007-)
    American Association for the Advancement of Science 2003
    Battelle Memorial Institute Board of Directors (2007-)

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