Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

January 7, 2013

IUK professor gets $350,000 NASA grant

An Indiana University Kokomo professor received a prestigious NASA grant to fund his research of neutron stars and black holes.

Patrick Motl, assistant professor of physics at IU Kokomo, is the lead investigator on the project. The $350,000 grant he received will allow him to continue his research for three years.

“When a star much more massive than our own sun runs out of fuel and dies, it explodes in a supernova explosion,” Motl said. “It leaves behind a very dense, small object called a neutron star, or a black hole. Our research will help astronomers identify and study the neutron stars, advancing knowledge in astronomy and astrophysics.”

The systems are so complicated that even observational astronomers often need help understanding what they’re looking at, Motl said.

Motl’s team of five will use computers to simulate mergers between black holes and neutron stars. The density of the neutron star matter makes it impossible to study in any lab, the professor said.

“One thing to remember about neutron stars is, one teaspoon of its matter weighs more than all of humanity combined,” he said. “People don’t really know much about the state of matter at such extreme conditions.”

And the stars are so far away that no one can ever really see them up close. Motl said the computer simulations should help with that.

Motl’s project is one of just 28 that received funding from NASA. More than 180 proposals were submitted.

“I was very surprised to get the award letter,” Motl said. “I was thinking it would be a long shot when I applied.”

Christian Chauret, dean of the school of sciences, said it’s very impressive that Motl is the lead investigator on such a prestigious NASA grant.

The project will be a benefit to IU Kokomo science students. Some will be chosen to serve as research assistants to help “visualize” data.

“It’s also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some of our students to participate in certain aspects of the research, especially with the computer simulations and modeling,” Chauret said.

Studying black holes and neutron stars and advancing astronomy and astrophysics has been Motl’s passion for a long time, he said, and the grant is helping him realize some of his dreams.

“I’ve been interested in this since I was a little kid,” he said.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Tipton Co. seeks more control of utility TIPTON — Tipton County is looking to take back some control over a small wastewater plant in the northern part of the county that was recently purchased by the city of Kokomo.The Tipton County commissioners voted to file a petition to intervene with

    July 14, 2014

  • Peru circus 06 Circus takes center ring PERU – Even after 13 years with the Peru Amateur Circus, Connor Quin said the feeling of performing in front of hundreds every night never gets old.Quin, who has performed every act imaginable during his time with the circus, said the audience and th

    July 14, 2014 5 Photos

  • Documentary explores impact of Indiana's education reforms A film documenting the “corporate takeover” of public schools in Indiana will be shown in Kokomo Thursday.“Rise Above the Mark,” the 65-minute documentary that premiered in December, was created by the West Lafayette School Corp. and is narrated by a

    July 14, 2014

  • Peru exempts some vendors PERU — Vendors at the Miami County Farmers Market won’t have to pay a roadside-vendor fee after the Peru City Council passed a new ordinance exempting non-profits from purchasing permits.The new ordinance replaces the city’s previous law requiring an

    July 14, 2014

  • State panel makes road 'wish list' INDIANAPOLIS — A panel of public and private officials is calling for $10 billion in projects to upgrade the state’s aging roads and bridges, but its members concede there’s no money to pay for it all. On Wednesday, Gov. Mike Pence’s Blue Ribbon Pane

    July 13, 2014

  • Elwood airman's final journey ends

    On Saturday, Airman Howard E. Martin was buried with full military honors in Elwood. Hundreds of people attended the services and many came out of their homes to line the streets for the funeral procession. Martin died in 1952 when the transport plane he was flying in crashed into the side of Alaska’s Mount Gannett, killing all 52 people on board.

    July 13, 2014

  • UPDATE: Bus was hit by stolen car going wrong way, sheriff says

    Authorities say a car that collided with a Greyhound bus on an Indiana highway had been stolen and was traveling the wrong way.

    July 13, 2014

  • Jail Mentally ill 11 Indiana's broken mental health system taxes Howard County jail

    Editor's note: People suffering from mental illness commit fewer than 4 percent of all violent crimes. But state cuts in mental health funding have limited opportunities for treatment before some people wind up on the wrong side of the law. Today, th

    July 13, 2014 7 Photos

  • We Care slates annual tree festival Reservation day is Aug. 1 for the 22nd annual We Care Trim-A-Tree Festival. Businesses, organizations and individuals interested in decorating a Christmas tree or wreath must call 765-459-4191 between 9 and 10 a.m. to be placed on the list.Callers ne

    July 13, 2014

  • habitat apostles build 03 Where a tornado destroyed a home After helping build four houses and putting more than 200 hours into volunteering for the Kokomo Habitat for Humanity, Rachel Lisby is getting a new home.Lisby stood amazed as more than 65 volunteers from 10 area churches hammered away Saturday morni

    July 13, 2014 4 Photos

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Argentina Fans Sad but Proud in Loss Germany Wins the World Cup 1-0 Raw: Violence Mars Argentina's WC Celebration Jails Struggle With Role As Makeshift Asylums NYC Artist Creates Wearable Armor Sculpture Raw: Thousands Celebrate World Cup Win in Berlin Bull Run Comes to Middle America Malala Meets 'Bring Back Our Girls' Activists Space Station Shipment Launched From Virginia Israel Deploys Ground Troops to Gaza Strip World-renowned Conductor Lorin Maazel Dies Raw: Airstrike Creates Chaos on Gaza Streets Raw: Divers, Snorkelers at Undersea 'Concert' LeBron: Move Back to Cleveland 'Exciting' Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale CDC Addresses Lab Safety Problems Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries