Professor Julian Krolik has been awarded a Simons Fellowship in Physics, which provides scholars with the opportunity to spend a year away from classroom and administrative duties in order to pursue research interests.
Krolik is among 12 theoretical physicists to receive this highly competitive, honorific fellowship.
“This award will greatly help me make the most of my sabbatical. With its support, I’ll be able to make long visits to each of three different sets of collaborators, all distant from Baltimore. Despite all the wonders of video-conferencing, nothing beats the focus and intensity of face-to-face discussions,” said Krolik. He plans to spend substantial time at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel studying what happens when the tidal gravity of supermassive black holes disrupts stars that venture too close, as well as at the Institut d’Astrophysique in Paris, France to begin a project on how pairs of supermassive black holes interact with the galaxy hosting them. In visits to the Rochester Institute of Technology, he will expand a long-standing effort to predict what kind of light is made by gas around supermassive binary black holes as they approach merger.
Simons Fellows are chosen based on research accomplishment in the five years prior to application and the potential scientific impact of the fellowship. The New York City-based Simons Foundation is a private foundation whose mission is to advance the frontiers of research in mathematics and the basic sciences. It funds a variety of grants, fellowships, and projects.
During his sabbatical, half of Krolik’s term-time salary will be paid by Johns Hopkins and half by the Simons Foundation. The foundation also pays up to an additional $25,000 for expenses related to the fellowship, including travel.
“Professor Krolik is one of the world’s experts on the processes that occur under the extreme conditions near supermassive black holes, one of the most important issues in astrophysics. Understanding these processes is essential to understanding how these objects grow and how they unleash enormous amounts of energy. They are also great laboratories for probing the predictions of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.” says Timothy Heckman, chair of the Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy. “We are delighted that through the Simons Foundation, Dr. Krolik will have the opportunity to expand his research program by developing and extending his collaborations with other scientists around the world.”