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College of Arts and Sciences

The Professor Brian D. Serot Fellowship

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

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


Brian SerotBrian David Serot was born in New York, and graduated from Yale with a B.S. in 1975. Brian received Ph.D. from Stanford in 1979. His Ph.D. advisor was Dirk Walecka and his thesis was on Unified Gauge Theories in Nuclear Physics. Following a postdoctoral appointment at MIT, Brian 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, and he was awarded tenure in 1986. He spent sabbatical years at the University of Washington in 1991 and at Ohio State University in 1999.

Brian, often working with Dirk Walecka, was 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 insures 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, and is the second most cited paper in the field of nuclear theory.

Brian 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. Brian’s problem sets were long and demanding, but he was always available to assist interested students. He won the departmental graduate student teaching award in 1985, the physics department’s award for outstanding teaching three times, and the Indiana University Trustees’ Teaching Award four times. Brian 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. /p>

Brian , age 57, of Bloomington, passed away on March 2, 2012 after a long a courageous battle with cancer. He is survived by 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.

To help establish a physics graduate student fellowship fund in Brian's name, donations may be made to the IU Foundation (memo to Professor Brian D. Serot Fellowship) and sent c/o Dept. of Physics, Indiana University, Swain West 117, Bloomington, IN 47405.