Press Release

Dissertation Prize for High-Energy Astrophysics Awarded

By SpaceRef Editor
May 30, 2017
Filed under , ,

The High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) is awarding its HEAD Dissertation Prize to Dr. Eric Coughlin for his thesis entitled “The Evolutionary Pathways of Tidal Disruption Events: From Stars to Debris Streams, Accretion Disks, and Relativistic Jets.” Dr. Coughlin is an Einstein Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. He completed his graduate studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where his advisor was Prof. Mitchell Begelman.

Dr. Coughlin’s work has significantly advanced the standard theory of relativistic hydrodynamics and has yielded substantial new results detailing the physical phenomena that occur when a star falls into a supermassive black hole. His thesis explores all phases of the tidal disruption process, from the initial disruption of the star, through the formation of an accretion flow onto the black hole, to the eventual acceleration of a relativistic jet. It provides an essential framework for a developing field of high-energy astrophysics.

“Tidal disruption events offer insight into black hole demographics, disk formation, and jet launching, and my thesis provides one incremental step toward our understanding of these physical phenomena,” said Coughlin. “I’m incredibly honored to have been chosen to receive this award, and none of this could have been possible without the help of friends, family, colleagues, and my advisor.”

Dr. Coughlin will give his prize lecture at the upcoming HEAD meeting, being held from August 20 to 24, 2017, in Sun Valley, Idaho.

More information about AAS HEAD, its prizes, and upcoming meetings can be found at and

SpaceRef staff editor.