Jan 29, 2009 - Claremont, Calif. -
Horowitz’s work in describing and modeling nuclei, nuclear reactions and dense matter also resulted in his being awarded a recent grant by the The U.S. Department of Energy for $266,000. It will allow him to continue his theoretical studies of nuclear and hadronic physics.
“Professor Horowitz is widely respected in the Department of Physics for his creative application of theoretical nuclear physics to matter at very extreme densities, in addition to his work on neutron-rich isotopes and supernovae,” said Rick Van Kooten, professor and chair of the Department of Physics, College of Arts and Sciences, in the IU news release. “This fellowship is very well deserved.”
The IU news release also said:
Horowitz’s election was preceded by an evaluation of his work by the APS Fellowship Committee prior to acceptance by the APS Council. Typically, only one half of one percent of the APS membership is selected each year, so the fellowship “is a distinct honor signifying recognition of sustained excellence in the field by one’s professional peers,” according to the APS announcement.
Horowitz is also a member of the IU Nuclear Theory Center within the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and he organizes the IU Physics Journal Club, a graduate student organization in which students are given opportunities to make presentations on various physics-related topics.
Horowitz earned a B.A. from Harvey Mudd College in 1978 and a Ph.D. from Stanford in 1981, then conducted post-doctoral research at Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen. In 2007, while at IU, Horowitz’s work received international attention with the announcement that his research had led to the first-ever modeling of the chemistry of a neutron star.
“In the past, neutron stars may have been thought to be boring balls of neutrons, but his work has shown fascinating structures of crusts on the surfaces of neutron stars, sometimes covered by liquid oceans and with ‘nuclear pasta’ collective structures inside,” Van Kooten said. “Professor Horowitz also contributes strongly to enhancing the climate for students in the department, organizing and running a weekly journal club covering a wide array of topics for our graduate students.”
Horowitz’s work was featured in a 2007 article in NewScientist Space, titled “Chemistry of neutron stars modeled for the first time.”
“My broad physics, chemistry and engineering education from Mudd has served me well,” Horowitz said. “I came to working on neutron stars and dense matter in a somewhat roundabout way, after learning a great deal from many Mudd professors.
“I learned relativity from Thomas Helliwell (complete with charging rhinos that helped illustrate Lorentz transformations),” Horowitz recalled. “Now I am working on gravitational wave radiation from mountains on rotating neutron stars. To determine how big the mountains can be, before they collapse under the star’s extreme gravity, we are calculating the breaking strength of neutron star crust with large scale molecular dynamics simulations. We find that neutron star crust is the strongest material known, and can support mountains big enough to produce detectable gravitational waves: ‘Mountains’ that are fully one-millimeter high.”