Jason Nordhaus is RIT's first NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Fellow. The fellowship, which is highly prestigious, is typically awarded to six or seven of the top early-career Ph.D. scientists to conduct research and education at a US institution of their choice.
Nordhaus joins RIT from Princeton University where he was a post-doctoral fellow in the department of astrophysical sciences. His research focuses on the late stages of stellar evolution. While our Sun is likely to die quietly, very massive stars end their lives in titanic explosions, known as supernovae. The mystery behind how these explosions work is one of Nordhaus' main areas of study. His recent research has been featured on NPR and in Time magazine where his work on supernovae was recently named one of Time's Top 100 Science Discoveries of 2010.
Nordhaus earned his undergraduate and doctoral degrees from the University of Rochester, and selected RIT's Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation (CCRG) as the home for his research due to the unique blend of cutting-edge research capabilities that the center affords.
"RIT's CCRG has an outstanding team of researchers that focus on some of the most violent and extreme systems in the Universe," says Nordhaus. "The quality of science and unique computational facilities made CCRG a natural fit."
Past recipients of the fellowship have gone to institutions such as UC Berkeley, MIT, and Harvard.
"We are very excited to have Jason here with us. He brings an impressive expertise in computational astrophysics and we are enthusiastic about collaborating with him. His work on core-collapse supernovae pushes the boundaries of computational physics, using some of the largest supercomputers on the planet," adds Manuela Campanelli, director of the CCRG. "The center is currently comprised of more than twenty members including faculty, postdoctoral researchers, staff, and students, and Jason's expertise will significantly enhance our diverse group."
In addition to research, Nordhaus is looking forward to teaching. He is formulating plans, in conjunction with NTID, for an astronomy class for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
Founded in 2007, The Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation is an interdisciplinary Center of Excellence at Rochester Institute of Technology. Its mission is to serve as a focal point for research in key designated areas of gravitational physics, relativistic astrophysics, and computation, with the goal of advancing discovery and knowledge of some of the most extreme physical phenomena in the universe.