Brian Metzger

Columbia University

2019 New Horizons in Physics Prize

For pioneering predictions of the electromagnetic signal from a neutron star merger, and for leadership in the emerging field of multi-messenger astronomy.


I am honored to be selected for this award, and I want to thank the Breakthrough Prize for raising aware-ness of the value of basic scientific research. I want to thank those individuals who have been supportive of my career: my teachers in Burlington, Iowa, who encouraged my passion in science, and my undergraduate professors at the University of Iowa, who directed my interests toward astrophysics. I want to thank my PhD advisor, Eliot Quataert, and early collaborators Todd Thompson and Edo Berger, who have shown by demonstration how to do good and effective science and to handle the unspoken responsibilities of an academic career; my students and other collaborators, from whom I have learned most of what I know about the universe; t he LIGO/Virgo collaboration, for their amazing discovery of gravitational waves from two merging neutron stars; and the teams of astronomers whose preparation and cunning last August led to the discovery of the collision’s fading light. Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank my family. My parents, Inez and David, and my Grandma Ruth have always supported my passions. My wife, Stacey, who has been a loving and exceedingly patient partner. My daughter, Elena, whose energy and unbounded enthusiasm give me hope and encouragement.

Brian Metzger