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Case astrophysicists Rhul, Starkman named 2005 APS fellows

 

John Ruhl and Glenn Starkman, professors from Case Western Reserve University’s department of physics, have been elected Fellows of the American Physical Society in honor of their work in area of astrophysics.

Each year members of the APS recognize less than one-half of one percent of the society’s current members by electing them Fellows for their “advances in knowledge through original research and publication” or “significant and innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology.” Some Fellows are also acknowledged for their contributions to teaching or involvement in Society activities.

Starkman was honored "for his wide-ranging and creative contributions to particle astrophysics, including explorations of the possibility of non-trivial topology in the universe, and uncovering unexpected features in the cosmic microwave background fluctuations at large angular scales," according to the APS.

Ruhl’s Fellowship came in acknowledgement of “his fundamental experimental contributions to the study of the cosmic microwave background radiation." Ruhl has captured some of the earliest images of the universe, approximately 100,000 years after its formation through his experimental cosmology projects centered at the South Pole on Antarctica. His work concentrates on Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, the leftover remnants from the big bang or the birth of the universe.

His South Pole experiments include Boomerang, a balloon-borne experiment that maps characteristics of the cosmic microwave background. Another project is Acbar that utilizes a telescope nearby the pole to measure fluctuation in the cosmic microwave background.

Starkman’s work is theoretical, with the goal of unraveling the mysteries of the universe’s formation, its shape and its expansion through the behavior of all its components from stars, galaxies, black holes and the many particles.

Currently Starkman is a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and the inaugural Beecroft Fellow at Oxford University’s new Beecroft Institute of Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, where he and collaborators are revisiting Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity to see how gravity might cause the accelerated expansion of the universe.

Both physicists were nominated for APS Fellowships by Lawrence Krauss, the Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Case. Krauss, also an APS Fellow, was recently elected vice chair (chair-elect) of the APS Forum on Physics and Society. The Forum on Physics and Society, established in 1971, addresses issues related to physics and society.

Krauss said he was hesitant at first to nominate two Case faculty members from the same area of physics for the honor at the same time, but was pleased when both nominees were accepted for election as Fellows in the same year, out of perhaps a dozen total individuals in this area in a given year.
“This confirms that our particle astrophysics and cosmology program is one of the strongest in the country,” said Krauss.
The election of Ruhl and Starkman now means that essentially every physicist hired over the past decade at Case, and who advanced to full professor by June 2004 when the nominations were accepted, is now an APS Fellow, said Krauss. There are 16 full professors in the department.

“These elections attest to the strength of our department,” Krauss said.

 

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