Patrick Motl, associate professor of physics and associate dean of sciences at Indiana University Kokomo, studies the death of stars and the super-dense objects that result, called neutron stars.
What happens after the death of a star?
One thing to remember about neutron stars is, one teaspoon of its matter weighs more than all of humanity combined. People don’t really know much about the state of matter at such extreme conditions.Patrick Motl, associate dean of School of Sciences and associate professor of physics, IU Kokomo
Relying on faint bits of light seen through powerful telescopes, Motl and colleagues look for “other kinds of light that may have been given off that people haven’t looked at before” and on computer simulations that show what the telescopes cannot.
This complex research has earned Motl funding from NASA to study what happens when neutron stars collide with one another or interact with black holes. Motl’s work also garners high regard among his peers such as more than 1500 citations to his research publications. In addition to the NASA grant, Motl has been involved with several other successful grants totaling over $2.25 million.
As much as he excels at his own research, Motl also helps others reach for the stars. On the IU Kokomo campus, he hosts public nights in the IU Kokomo Observatory to educate the community about stars and planets. He also takes part in the Science Rocks Summer Camp for underrepresented middle-school students, judges science fairs, and participates often in public outreach and speaking about the sciences.