Hulse, Russell Alan (1950-) is an American physicist. He won the 1993 Nobel Prize in physics for his discovery of the first binary pulsar, a pair of collapsed stars, each emitting huge amounts of energy, orbiting each other. Hulse shared the prize with his research partner, the American physicist Joseph Hooton Taylor, Jr.
Hulse was born on Nov. 28, 1950, in New York City. In 1970, he earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Cooper Union, a college in New York City. He received a master's degree in physics in 1972 and a doctoral degree in physics in 1975, both from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Hulse's doctoral work, which was supervised by his professor, Taylor, involved using a radio telescope to search for pulsars—dense, rapidly spinning stars from which regular bursts of electromagnetic radiation are received on the earth, usually in the form of radio waves. In 1974, Hulse and Taylor found a pulsar whose rate of pulsation regularly decreased and increased. Hulse and Taylor concluded that the pulsar was revolving around an unseen companion object, the two massive stars forming a binary system. Further studies by Hulse and Taylor confirmed that massive bodies in orbit around each other give off energy in the form of gravitational waves, the existence of which had been predicted in 1915 by the German-born physicist Albert Einstein as part of his general theory of relativity. However, gravitational waves have not yet been detected.
From 1975 to 1977, Hulse worked at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 1977, he became a research physicist at the Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University in New Jersey. There he has conducted research on hydrogen fusion. Since 1994, Hulse has been head of the Advanced Modeling Sciences Laboratory at Princeton University and has been involved in computer modeling and in working on advanced computer software.