- Press Release
- Dec 2, 2022
Top High-Energy Astronomy Prize Awarded for Work on Star Explosions
Prof. Stan Woosley of University of California at Santa Cruz has won
this year’s Bruno Rossi Prize for his pioneering work on star
explosions, including gamma-ray bursts. The prize is awarded each
year by the High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) of the American
Astronomical Society (AAS).
Prof. Woosley’s research focuses on theoretical astrophysics. He is
being recognized by HEAD-AAS for his detailed modeling of star
explosions called supernovae, in which he describes how “heavy”
elements needed for life such as oxygen and iron are forged and
ejected. In addition, Prof. Woosley’s “collapsar” model of massive
star explosions has recently been identified as the central engine of
some gamma-ray bursts, a major breakthrough in this field.
Accompanying this press release is colorful animation depicting a
numerical simulation of a gamma-ray burst, carried out by Prof.
Woosley and his former students, Drs. Andrew MacFadyen and Weiqun
“There’s something terribly attractive about a titanic explosion, as
long as it occurs far enough away,” said Prof. Woosley. “To think
that the same explosions that make black holes and neutron stars are
also creating the elements of life still continues to amaze me. I am
honored to receive the Rossi Prize for what has been such rewarding
work with so many bright students and colleagues.”
The HEAD-AAS awards the Rossi Prize in recognition of significant
contributions as well as recent and original work in High Energy
Astrophysics. The prize is in honor of Professor Bruno Rossi, an
authority on cosmic-ray physics and a pioneer in the field of X-ray
astronomy. The prize also includes an engraved certificate and a
Prof. Woosley was recently awarded the American Physical Society’s
2005 Hans Bethe Prize, which recognizes outstanding work in the area
of astrophysics, nuclear physics and related fields. He received the
“Outstanding Faculty Award” from the Division of Physical and
Biological Sciences at UCSC in 2003-04. He was elected to the
American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and as a fellow of the
American Physical Society in 1987.
Prof. Woosley is a co-investigator on the HETE-II collaboration, a
NASA mission devoted to the study of gamma-ray bursts that was
launched in 2000. He is also the director of the Center of Supernova
Research at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC). He
has published more than 300 papers.
To view a computer simulation of a gamma-ray burst, refer to
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2003/0618rosettaburst.html (third animation).