Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Stuart L. Shapiro
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign


"For seminal and sustained contributions to understanding physical processes in compact object astrophysics, and advancing numerical relativity."


Stuart L. Shapiro, Ph.D., received his A.B. in astronomy from Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass.) in 1969 and his Ph.D. in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University (N.J.) in 1973. From the time he completed his doctorate until 1995, Dr. Shapiro went from research associate to full professor of astronomy and physics at Cornell University, before leaving in 1996 to become a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Dr. Shapiro has authored or co-authored over 380 publications, including a widely used graduate textbook, "The Physics of Compact Objects: Black Holes, White Dwarfs and Neutron Stars” (Wiley-VCH), and the well-received textbook "Numerical Relativity: Solving Einstein’s Equations on the Computer". Dr. Shapiro’s research lies at the intersection of theoretical astrophysics and general relativity. His main contributions concern the physics of compact objects including compact binary mergers, gravitational wave generation, gravitational collapse of stars and star clusters into black holes, gas accretion onto black holes, and the emitted electromagnetic radiation spectrum. Dr. Shapiro has helped design novel numerical algorithms for stellar dynamics and numerical relativity such as the BSSN scheme for solving Einstein’s gravitational field equations on supercomputers. His research has been funded by the NASA and the National Science Foundation since 1973. Dr. Shapiro received the 1990 Forefronts of Large-Scale Computation Award, the 1991 IBM Supercomputing Competition Award, a 1984 Association of American Publishers Award for a new textbook, a 1989-1990 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and a 1979 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. He is a member of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Physics, the American Astrophysics Society, Sigma Xi, and Phi Beta Kappa.

Selection Committee:

2017 Selection Committee Members: Angela Olinto (Chair), Robert B. Wiringa (Vice Chair), Robert E. Tribble, Vassiliki Kalagere (2016 recipient), Marc Kamionkowski