During his distinguished career, theoretical physicist and cosmologist Adrian Melott has been a pioneer in two completely different fields of space science – and he credits his focus and curiosity in large part to his grandfather who read a lot about science, and his father, a machinist who allowed him “free reign” in a chemistry lab in the family basement.
In the 1980s, the Moundsville, WV native, now 67, was among the first scientists in the world to use supercomputers to envision the large-scale structure of the universe – the intricate, web-like pattern of galaxies and dark matter that later became known as the cosmic web.
Then, about a decade ago, Melott and a few colleagues launched a whole new field of science which studies the potential affect of gamma ray bursts on the Earth. Since it involves astronomy, biology and physics, he named this new field astrobiophysics.
A long-time Professor of Physics at the University of Kansas, Adrian Melott did his doctoral work in cosmology under the supervision of one of the fathers of modern cosmology, Dennis Sciama. Sciama also supervised Professor Stephen Hawking, perhaps the world’s most famous living scientist.
Adrian Melott and 3 other leaders in science and business are featured in the West Virginia Public Radio documentary Inspiring West Virginians.