Brian D. Serot Fellowship

Brian D. Serot Fellowship

This fellowship has been established in memory of Professor Brian Serot. It provides fellowship support to incoming or current Physics Ph.D. students, with preference given to those with an interest in the study of theoretical nuclear physics.

At the discretion of the Graduate Admissions and Financial Support (GAFS) Committee, the fellowship may be awarded to the same student for multiple years. The number, amount, and recipients of the fellowship will be determined by the Physics department GAFS Committee, in accordance with guidelines and procedures as established by the College of Arts and Sciences, Indiana University, and the Indiana University Foundation.

Brian D. Serot

Born in New York, Brian David Serot graduated from Yale with a B.S. in 1975, then received a Ph.D. from Stanford in 1979. His Ph.D. advisor, Dirk Walecka, oversaw Serot’s thesis on unified gauge theories in nuclear physics. Following a postdoctoral appointment at MIT, Serot joined the physics faculty at Stanford in 1980. In 1984 he came to Indiana University as a member of the Physics department and the Nuclear Theory Center; he was awarded tenure in 1986. He spent sabbatical years at the University of Washington in 1991 and at Ohio State University in 1999.

Often working with Dirk Walecka, Professor Serot became one of the leading practitioners of quantum hadrodynamics (QHD). This is a relativistic nucleon and meson quantum field theory for the nuclear many-body problem. QHD grew out of the Walecka model of nucleons interacting with scalar and vector mesons, which was originally developed to describe dense matter in neutron stars. The relativistic field theory formalism includes interactions and preserves causality. This ensures that the speed of sound remains less than the speed of light, even at very high densities. A monograph on QHD co-authored by Serot and Walecka has become a classic—it is the second most cited paper in the field of nuclear theory.

Serot was known as an outstanding teacher. His lecture notes, handwritten in a series of different-colored inks, were famous for their detail and elegance, and they were greatly appreciated by colleagues, to whom he would freely lend them. His problem sets were long and demanding, but he was always available to assist interested students. Serot won the departmental graduate student teaching award in 1985. He received the Physics department award for outstanding teaching three times, and the Indiana University Trustees’ Teaching Award four times.

Serot was a deeply involved mentor with his graduate students. Their dissertation projects were ambitious and comprehensive, and he was willing to spend as much time as was necessary to assist his students to achieve success in their work.

Brian Serot passed away after a long, courageous battle with cancer at age 57, in March, 2012. His survivors include his wife, Rosa Serot of Bloomington; father, Marvin Serot of Florida; sister, Claudia Corman of New York and her husband, Dr. Marvin Corman; uncle, Irwin Whitman of Colorado; two cousins, Stephanie Owen and her husband Richard Owen, Elizabeth Whitman of New Jersey; and two nieces, Ariana Saunders and Danielle Saunders of New York.