For his study on neutron stars and black holes, the American Physical Society awarded Dr. Madappa Prakash the Hans A. Bethe Accolade in Nuclear Astrophysics in 2022, the most prestigious prize in the area of nuclear astrophysics.

According to the prize citation, Prakash, a professor in Ohio University’s Physics and Astronomy Department, was honored “for fundamental contributions to the physics of hot and dense matter, and their implications for heavy ion collisions and multi-messenger observations of neutron star structure and evolution.”

“Over the course of his long and productive career, Prakash has played a crucial role in the physics of neutron stars and heavy-ion collisions,” said Dr. Zachary Meisel, associate professor of physics. “Prakash’s contributions to nuclear theory and key achievements in astrophysics are inextricably linked.”

Prakash became a full professor at Ohio University in 2005, in part to serve as a “glue” between the Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics and the Astrophysical Institute, which are both funded by Ohio University’s research priority program “Structure of the Universe: From Quarks to Super-Clusters.”

Dr. David Ingram, professor and department head, adding, “This is a well-deserved accolade for Prakash, who is a trailblazer in his area.”

Prakash’s study has explored a wide range of phenomena that occur in nuclei and nuclear matter when density, temperature, and magnetic fields are excessive. His research has shed light on the function of the equation of state of dense matter in nuclear collisions at all energy, as well as the structure of neutron stars.

His research into odd stuff led to the discovery of novel paths for the formation of stellar mass black holes from metastable neutron stars. His research interests include neutron star development from infancy to old age, neutrino interactions and propagation in dense astrophysical systems, and theoretical interpretations of neutron star data. For investigations of supernovae and binary mergers involving neutron stars and black holes, he constructs equations of state, neutrino opacities, and transport characteristics in dense matter.

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His major accomplishments include establishing a link between the maximum observed neutron star mass and the dense matter equation of state, determining the constraints that an observed core collapse supernova neutrino signal will impose on the composition and structure of protoneutron stars, and connecting neutron star radius observations to the density dependence of the nuclear force.

Other major accomplishments include establishing a theoretical framework connecting heavy-ion collision flow measurements and the dense matter pressure-density relationship, providing the physical basis for the hadron-resonance gas, which is frequently used to compare relativistic heavy-ion collision data to lattice quantum chromodynamics calculations of the hadron-to-quark cross-over transition, and laying the theoretical foundation obligated to demonstrate that relativistic heavy ion collision data is consistent with lattice quantum

“Prakash’s influence is amplified by his extensive research mentoring, which includes 14 Ph.D.s and 31 undergraduate researchers. “For example, describing the improvements that can be gained in comprehending the dense matter equation of state by future observations from NICER (NASA’s Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer) and LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory),” Meisel stated.

While working at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in Bombay, Prakash received his Ph. D. in physics from the University of Bombay in 1979. He completed his postdoctoral studies at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen (1979-81) and Stony Brook University (1982-86), where he lectured and performed research until 2005.

Prakash was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society (Division of Nuclear Physics) in 2001 “for fundamental research into the properties of hot and dense matter, providing a basis for understanding relativistic heavy ion collisions and the structure and composition of neutron stars,” according to the American Physical Society.

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