|Binary Pulsars and
Joseph H. Taylor
Friday, April 16, 2004 - 8:00
| Joseph H. Taylor is the
James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Physics at Princeton
University. Educated at Haverford College (BA in Physics, 1963) and Harvard
University (PhD in Astronomy, 1968), he taught at the University of
Massachussetts, Amherst, from 1969 to 1980. He moved to Princeton in 1981, and
served as its Dean of the Faculty from 1997 to 2003. In 1974 Taylor and a
graduate student, Russell Hulse, discovered the first known pulsar in a binary
system. For this discovery and its later contributions to the understanding of
gravity, they were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1993.
Pulsars are neutron stars--the extremely dense, strongly magnetized, rapidly spinning remnants of supernova explosions. They also appear to be nature's most precise clocks. Discovery of the first orbiting pulsar opened a new subfield of radio astronomy, in which the relativistic nature of gravity is tested through precise comparisons of "pulsar time" with atomic time on Earth. Among other results, the experiments have demonstrated the existence of gravitational waves, as predicted by Einstein's theory of gravity.
exhibit long-term timing stability comparable with that of the very best atomic
clocks. This fact has made possible a variety of experiments that probe the
physics of neutron star interiors and the fundamental nature of gravity.
|For more information contact Linda Becker at 814-865-6337