David Arnett
University of Arizona


"For his outstanding and fundamental work on how nuclear reactions shape multi-dimensional and partly out-of-equilibrium evolution of stars and supernova explosions and their yields of new isotopes."


Education: B.S., physics, University of Kentucky, 1961 Ph.D., physics, Yale, 1965 (advisor A.G.W. Cameron). Employment: postdoctoral fellow, Caltech with W. A. Fowler (1967-69), Assist. Prof., Rice (1969-1971), Assoc. Prof., UT Austin (1972-1975), Prof., U of I Champaign-Urbana (1975-1977), Distinguished Service Prof., University of Chicago (Enrico Fermi Institute) (1977-1989), Regents Prof., Steward Observatory, University of Arizona (1988-now), Chandrasekhar Professor, International Center for Relativistic Astrophysics, Rome-Pescara, Italy (2007-now). The central theme of Arnett's research is supernovae. He performed the first radiation hydrodynamic simulations of gravitational collapse, which produced both black holes and neutron stars, and showed the importance of neutrino flavors, as well as the first simulations of thermonuclear supernovae. He invented the method for solution of nuclear reaction networks that was used for decades in the field, and with collaborators and students, showed that supernovae yielded quantitative predictions of elemental and isotopic abundances in agreement with data. He produced numerical and analytic supernova light curves, and used them to predict new types of supernovae (types Ib and Ic) which were discovered a few years later. He and his collaborators simulated stars in 2D and 3D, discovering instabilities relevant to SN1987A and devising analytic theory to capture the effects of turbulence. Honors: American Astronomical Society, International Astronomical Union. American Physical Society (Fellow), American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Science. Distinguished Graduate Award: Yale (1980, with J.W. Truran), Humboldt Prize (1981, Senior Scientist), Chandrasekhar Lecturer: Bose Center for Physics, Kolkata, (2008).

Selection Committee:

Roland Diehl, Donald Geesaman, Friedrich Thielemann, John W. Negele, Virginia Trimble