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About Stephen Holt

Areas of Interest: physics, astrophysics, astronomy, space program, NASA.
My research career has been largely associated with X-ray astronomy research. Since X-rays do not penetrate the Earth's atmosphere, I have developed instruments that were configured on a variety of NASA and international scientific satellites, and have utilized their data to probe processes in celestial sources with characteristic temperatures of millions to billions of degrees.
My most recent research has been associated with supernova remnants (the remains of exploded stars), but the interests of some Olin students resulted in a study of the distribution of systems called "high mass X-ray binaries" in spiral galaxies. High mass X-ray binaries are bound systems of neutron stars (stars as dense as atomic nuclei!) and high mass stars (usually more than ten times the mass of the sun). This complements other work in which I have been involved on the nuclei of such galaxies, which are invariably associated with massive "black holes."
If you are interested in finding out more about my professional and personal interests, see


Present Professor of Physics, Olin College of Engineering

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • NASA Distinguished Service Medal (NASA's highest award)
  • First American scientist to receive COSPAR International Scientific Cooperation Medal
  • John C. Lindsay Memorial Award for Scientific Achievement


  • Quantum Physics
  • High Energy Astrophysics
  • Relativity

Articles (12)