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Murphy, Brian

Professor - Physics
Physics & Astronomy


Gallahue Hall - 227
10:00 to 10:45 am MWF, Noon to 1 PM MW, anytime by appointment


Academic/Professional/Personal Focus

Areas of Expertise

Dynamics and Evolution of Dense Stellar Systems: Globular Star Clusters and Galactic Nuclei.
My research focuses on the dynamical evolution of dense stellar systems such as globular cluster and galactic nuclei. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, houses about 150 globular clusters, which reside in the halo and are concentrated toward the Galaxy's center. These stellar systems are roughly spherical, average one hundred light years in diameter, and contain from ten thousand to ten million stars. Roughly 20% of star clusters have undergone core collapse. During core collapse stars are packed more than a billion times closer together than those in the vicinity of the Sun. My research focuses on this phenomenon of core collapse and the resulting interactions between stars. A more extreme example of this is at the centers of galaxies such as our Milky Way. These dense conditions have produced a supermassive black hole with a mass equivalent to 4 million Suns. By modeling the present day distribution of stars near this black hole we can begin to understand its formation and growth. Click on the title above to learn more.

Contributions: (published works or studies, conference presentations)

Click Here to view my publications.

Butler Assignment (classes or work duties)


Personal Hobbies
Bicycle Racing, Gardening, Cooking



  • B.S. in Physics and Astronomy, University of Iowa
  • M.A. in Astronomy, Indiana University
  • Ph.D. in Astrophysics, Indiana University


  • Esther L. Kinsley Award for Outstanding Ph.D. Dissertation at Indiana University (1988)
  • Outstanding Faculty Member, Natural Sciences (2000)
  • Indiana Academy of Science Speaker of the Year (2002)
  • Student Government Association Apple Award for Outstanding Teaching (2003)
  • College of Liberal Arts and Science Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship (2012)
  • Butler University Distinguished Faculty Award for Research and Scholarship (2013)

Association Memberships (professional/educational)

  • American Astronomical Society
  • International Astronomical Union
  • Astronomical Society of the Pacific
  • Sigma Xi
  • Indiana Academy of Science

Professional Experience