Russell Alan Hulse is an American physicist who was one of the joint winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics 1993 for his discovery of a new type of pulsar; his discovery has opened up new possibilities for the study of gravitation. Russell was born in New York City and was educated at the Bronx High School of Science. He showed a precocious ability to learn a disparate range of scientific subjects and for a while was not sure regarding his choice of study. In order to save on college fees, he enrolled at the Cooper Union and eventually attained his doctorate in physics from the University of Massachusetts. During his time as a post graduate student, he teamed up with his teacher, Joseph H. Taylor Jr., to discover a binary pulsar that would go on to become his life’s greatest work. A few years later, they performed another series of experiments to prove the existence of gravitational waves, as propounded by Albert Einstein in his Theory of Relativity. He worked for a couple of years at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory located in Charlottesville but he did not enjoy the work and instead joined the Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory, with which was associated for many years. Currently, he is a professor at the University of Texas.
Childhood & Early Life
Russell Alan Hulse was born on 28 November 1950, in New York City, to Alan Hulse and Betty Joan Hulse. As a child, he was very curious and his parents encouraged him in all his pursuits.
After completing his primary school education, he took admission in the Bronx High School of Science in 1963 and graduated from the school three years later. He showed an intense interest towards the sciences right from an early age.
After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the Cooper Union since there were no tuition fees involved and in 1970 he was awarded his bachelor’s degree in science. In the same year, he enrolled at the University of Massachusetts located in Amherst and was awarded his doctorate in physics five years later.
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During his years as a post graduate student, he studied at Arecibo Observatory of Cornell University, located in Puerto Rico, under the guidance of the astrophysicist Joseph H. Taylor Jr. in 1974. In the same year, he collaborated with Taylor and discovered the first binary pulsar, which was christened PSR 1913+16. They shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery 19 years later.
After attaining his doctorate from the University of Massachusetts in 1975, he started working at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory located in Charlottesville in his first post-doctoral role. However, he was unsure about the career prospects in radio astronomy and after spending two years at the observatory, he quit.
He was at ease with computers right from his time at Cooper Union as a student and that skill, added to his doctorate in physics provided him with the opportunity to start working for the Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory in 1977. He worked for the laboratory for a long time.
He collaborated with Joseph H. Taylor Jr., and expanded on their research related to binary pulsar. The duo published a paper in 1978 in which they proved, through a series of experiments that gravitational waves, as theorised by Albert Einstein in his famous Theory of Relativity, were genuine.
Hulse became a visiting physics professor at the University of Texas in 2003. The following year, he joined the University of Texas in a full time role and became the Founding Director of UT Dallas Science and Engineering Education Center (SEEC).
His most significant achievement in a career that has spanned over several decades is without doubt the discovery of binary pulsar in collaboration with Joseph H. Taylor Jr in 1974. Furthermore, they expanded their experiments to prove the existence of gravitational waves that had first been theorised by Albert Einstein. They shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for their efforts in 1993.
Awards & Achievements
He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Joseph H. Taylor Jr in 1993 for their joint work on the discovery of binary pulsar.
The members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science elected him as a fellow in 2003.
Personal Life & Legacy
Russell Alan Hulse has never married but has been in a long term relationship with his girlfriend Jeanne Kuhlman. The couple has no children.