Computational astrophysicist James Stone joins the Institute for Advanced Study

James Stone

James Stone, a world-renowned computational astrophysicist whose research focuses on fluid dynamics, has been appointed to the faculty of the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study.

Stone’s work has provided groundbreaking insight into the nature of giant molecular clouds, using three-dimensional simulations to provide the first realistic high-resolution models of the dense, massive systems that give rise to the majority of star formation in galaxies. With his students, he has explored numerical models of the spiral waves and shocks created by planets orbiting in protoplanetary disks, and the critical but poorly understood process of planetary migration in the disk. He has also made many contributions to the subject of radiation transport, including the first numerical studies of the effects of radiation fields on accretion disks and of line-driven disk winds, and the first global models of radiation-dominated disks.

During his academic career, Stone has held academic positions at the Princeton University, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Maryland. He is also member of the American Astronomical Society, the American Physical Society, and the International Astronomical Union. He is currently the Lyman Spitzer, Jr. Professor of Astrophysical Sciences, professor of applied and computational mathematics, and chair of the department of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University. His research interests include star formation, accretion flows, interstellar gas dynamics, and the development of numerical algorithms for magnetohydrodynamics and radiation hydrodynamics.

“Jim is an innovator and problem solver, whose novel numerical algorithms have shaped the field of computational astrophysics and contributed greatly to our understanding of the universe,” said Institute for Advanced Study Director Robbert Dijkgraaf. “With a broad research scope and a commitment to mentorship, Jim’s position at the institute will facilitate wide dispersal and application of knowledge, providing insight into longstanding questions concerning a variety of cosmic systems. With this appointment the Institute also reaffirms the increasing importance of the computational approach to research.”

Stone earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Queen’s University in Canada, and a doctorate from the University of Illinois. He was named a fellow of the American Physical Society in 2013. He received the organization’s Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics in 2011, and the Dirk Brouwer Career Award from the American Astronomical Society in 2018.

“I am thrilled to be joining the faculty,” Stone said. “The opportunity to focus full-time on research, and to collaborate with the members and other faculty, is what makes the institute so special. It gives me the chance to think about the big problems that are hard to work on at other places.”