Carnegie Mellon University
February 15, 2022

Physicist Carl Rodriguez Named 2022 Sloan Fellow

By Jocelyn Duffy

Jocelyn Duffy
  • Associate Dean for Communications, MCS
  • 412-268-9982

Carl Rodriguez, an assistant professor in Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Physics and member of the McWilliams Center for Cosmology, is among 118 recipients of 2022 Sloan Research Fellowships, which honor early career scholars whose achievements put them among the very best scientific minds today.

"Today's Sloan Research Fellows represent the scientific leaders of tomorrow," says Adam F. Falk, president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. "As formidable young scholars, they are already shaping the research agenda within their respective fields—and their trailblazing won't end here." 

Rodriguez’s work focuses on gravitational waves, ripples in spacetime that were first observed by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in 2015. He is particularly interested in the dynamics and evolution of stars and star clusters, and what the gravitational waves they create can tell us about stars and galaxies across cosmic time. 

“Gravitational waves give us an insight into the universe that is novel; they give us a much fuller view of the universe. They tell us things about how stars evolve and die and the supernovas that drive the end of massive stars’ lives,” said Rodriguez. “I’m honored to receive the Sloan Fellowship and excited that they chose to recognize gravitational wave research as it moves to the forefront of astronomy and physics.”

In his work, Rodriguez uses high performance computing, including machines at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, to simulate the dynamics of star clusters in order to better understand how gravitational forces effect the evolution of binary stars and create gravitational waves.

Rodriguez joined the Carnegie Mellon physics faculty in the fall of 2020 after completing an ITC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard and a Pappalardo Postdoctoral Fellowship at MIT. He earned his doctoral degree from Northwestern University and his bachelor’s degree from Reed College.

Rodriguez is one of three Sloan Fellowship recipients from Carnegie Mellon this year. School of Computer Science faculty Fei Feng and Pravesh Kothari were also recognized by the foundation. Each will receive a $75,000, two-year fellowship that can be used flexibly to advance their research.