Matt Caplan

About Me


Physicist. Professor. Writer.

My name is Matt, and I am an Assistant Professor of Physics at Illinois State University. I study astromaterials, the solids that form inside dead stars. I also work as a science writer and scientific consultant for educational media.


Stars freeze. At the end of their lives stars cool and contract forming white dwarfs and neutron stars. In these extremely dense environments nuclei can be packed so closely that they freeze solid, forming materials many trillions of times denser than anything on earth. Dr. Caplan uses large scale computer simulations to study astromaterials and calculate their physical properties to interpret astronomical observations of dead stars.

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The important stuff.

When What Where
2017 Ph.D. in Physcs Indiana University
2014 M.S in Physics Indiana University
2013 B.S in Physics University of Virginia


When What Who
2018 University Distinguished
Dissertation Award
Indiana University
2017 Dissertation Award in Nuclear Physics American Physical Society
2017 Outstanding Educator Award University of Chicago
2017 Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship CITA
2017 Earl Sturdevant Fellowship Indiana University
2015 Brian D. Serot Fellowship
for Nuclear Theory
Indiana University


Learn about what I do to educate the public.

Or hire me to help you do it.

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Email me at

Find me at Moulton Hall

Department of Physics

Campus Box 4560

Normal, IL 61790-4560