Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Matthew Cufari
Syracuse University


"For verifying the Hills Mechanism as a viable method to generate repeating partial tidal disruption events."


Matthew Cufari is a senior undergraduate student in Physics and Computer Science at Syracuse University. Matthew’s career in research began as a high school student at the University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). At the LLE, Matthew extended a code to simulate charged-particle transport and observables in inertial confinement fusion experiments under the supervision of Dr. Radha Bahukutumbi. At Syracuse, Matthew studies Tidal Disruption Events (TDEs) under the supervision of Prof. Eric Coughlin. They demonstrated that the periodic nuclear transient ASASSN-14ko can be generated from the repeated partial tidal disruption of a star that was placed on its orbit via a dynamical exchange mechanism. During summer 2022, Matthew traveled to the University of Leicester to work with Prof. Chris Nixon. There, he performed simulations of partial TDEs and analyzed the properties of partially disrupted stars. For his work on TDEs, Matthew was named a Barry Goldwater Scholar and an Astronaut Scholar. Matthew is a Syracuse University Coronat Scholar and a member of the Renée Crown University Honors Program. He is also member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, the American Astronomical Society, and the Society of Physics Students. Outside of research, he enjoys rock-climbing and hiking around Upstate New York.