Scott A. Hughes

Professor of Physics
Professor Hughes' research is in astrophysical general relativity, focusing in particular upon black holes and gravitational-wave sources.
Research Areas

Research Interests

  • Astrophysical general relativity
  • Gravitational wave physics and astrophysics
  • Black holes and strong-field gravity

Biographical Sketch

Professor Hughes attended Cornell University as an undergraduate, earning a B.A. in Physics in 1993. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the California Institute of Technology, working with Professor Kip Thorne, and then did postdocs at the University of Illinois, Caltech, and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics before joining the MIT Physics faculty in January 2003.

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Awards & Honors

  • 2017-27 // Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow, MIT (Honors MIT's Best Teachers)
  • 2016 // Buechner Outstanding Advisor Award, MIT Physics
  • 2012 // American Physical Society Fellow "For pioneering work in gravitational wave physics including modeling the waveforms of extreme mass-ratio inspirals, developing a framework for testing black hole spacetimes, and showing how gravitational waves can be used to study structure formation and measure cosmological parameters."
  • 2012 // John Simon Guggenheim Fellow
  • 2005-06 // MIT School of Science Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
  • 2005 // National Science Foundation Career Grant
  • 2005 // Buechner Teaching Prize, MIT Physics
  • 2004 // Appointed Class of 1956 Career Development Professor (MIT)

Key Publications

  • Scott A. Hughes, Anuj Apte, Gaurav Khanna, and Halston Lim, “Learning about Black Hole Binaries from their Ringdown Spectra,” Physical Review Letters, 123, 161101 (2019) (

  • Daniel E. Holz, Scott A. Hughes, and Bernard F. Schutz, “Measuring cosmic distances with standard sirens,” Physics Today, 71, 12, 34 (2018) (

  • Uchupol Ruangsri, Sarah J. Vigeland, and Scott A. Hughes, “Gyroscopes orbiting black holes: A frequency-domain approach to precession and spin-curvature coupling for spinning bodies on generic Kerr orbits,” Physical Review D, 94, 044008 (2016) (