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Physics professor named Fellow in American Physical Society

Loyola press release - December 9, 2011

Carl Brans, Ph.D., emeritus professor of physics at Loyola University New Orleans, has been elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society for his outstanding contribution to physics, in particular for developing the Brans-Dicke scalar-tensor gravitational theory, an alternative to Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity.

Election as a fellow in the APS is recognition by peers of outstanding contributions to physics and is limited to no more than one half of one percent of the membership. In addition to the others who were elected as fellows this year, Brans’ name and citation will be published in the March 2012 issue of APS News. It also will appear on the fellowship page of the APS website.

Brans’ theory is the result of his 1961 doctoral thesis at Princeton University. With ideas suggested by physicist Robert Dicke, Brans developed what is now the most widely known, viable alternative to Einstein's theory of general relativity. According to Brans, a pivotal difference between the theories is that they introduced a new field, a scalar.

In the 1960s and 1970s, NASA did extensive research to compare predictions of Brans-Dicke theory to that of Einstein. While the results were not in favor of the scalar-tensor theory, the existence of a viable alternative led to a tremendous amount of experimental and theoretical work on gravity.

In addition to being named as a Fellow, Brans is also having a new scholarship endowed in his honor by Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, Ph.D., mother of physics alumnus Michael Greenberg, '06.

For more information, contact Brans at 504-865-2453 or brans@loyno.edu.