Scott Ransom, PhD

1992 Hertz Fellow
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Scott Ransom is a tenured astronomer with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in Charlottesville, VA.

Scott is also a Research Professor in the Astronomy Department at the University of Virginia. His research involves finding and timing pulsars, and using them as celestial clocks in basic physics “experiments”.

Scott uses data from many different telescopes and at energies from radio waves to gamma-rays. His main focus is on exotic pulsar systems, such as millisecond pulsars and binaries, and using them as tools to probe the physics of neutron star matter, to test alternative theories of gravitation, and to detect nanoHertz frequency gravitational waves. He is one of the founding members of the NANOGrav project, and is the Chair ex-officio of the collaboration. He also spends time on the state-of-the-art signal-processing instrumentation, high-performance computing, and software that pulsar (and Fast Radio Burst) astronomy requires.

Scott was a cadet at West Point where he won a Hertz Foundation Fellowship to pursue a PhD in Astronomy at Harvard University. That he did, interspersed with six years on active duty in the Army as a Field Artillery officer, completing in 2001. He was a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University in Montreal until 2004 where he moved to NRAO as a staff astronomer. In 2010 he won the American Astronomical Society’s Helen B.
Warner Prize “for a significant contribution to observational or theoretical astronomy during the five years preceding the award.” He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and has authored or co-authored over 350 refereed publications.

When he isn’t working on pulsars, Scott is likely tweaking one of his Linux systems, mountain biking, or preferably, rock climbing.

Graduate Studies

Harvard University
New search techniques for binary pulsars

Undergraduate Studies

United States Military Academy at West Point


2015, Fellow, American Physical Society

Related News

May 23, 2024
Scott Ransom credits a Hertz Fellowship with steering him toward an academic career studying pulsars, rotating stars that can act as ultra-precise clocks in the sky.