Binary Pulsars and Relativistic Gravity
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 astrophysics in which the relativistic nature of gravity is tested through precise comparisons of “pulsar time” with atomic time here on earth. Among other results, the experiments have demonstrated the existence of gravitational waves, as predicted by Einstein’s theory of gravity.
About the Speaker
Dr. Joseph Taylor is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Physics, Emeritus, Princeton University. He is the recipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Dr. Taylor taught at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, from 1968 to 1980, and since then in the Physics Department, Princeton University. From 1997 to 2003 he also served as Dean of the Faculty at Princeton. He earned a BA in physics, with honors, from Haverford College in 1963, and a PhD in Astronomy from Harvard University in 1968. His research is in radio astronomy, especially the study of pulsars and their applications to experimental gravitation.
Dr. Taylor is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He has served on many Boards and advisory committees, such as the recent Committee on Assessment of Options for Extending the Life of the Hubble Space Telescope. In addition to the Nobel Prize in Physics, he has received numerous other prizes and awards, including the MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, the Einstein Prize of the Albert Einstein Society, Bern, and the Wolf Prize in Physics.
Visit http://www.dickinson.edu/news/priestley/ for more information about the Joseph Priestley Award and a listing of past recipients.