Chatzopoulos Named a 2022 LSU Emerging Scholar in STEM Rainmaker

Associate Professor Emmanouil (Manos) Chatzopoulos
Associate Professor Emmanouil (Manos) Chatzopoulos
Katherine Seghers, LSU

Associate Professor Emmanouil (Manos) Chatzopoulos has been selected as a 2022 recipient of the LSU Rainmaker Award in the Emerging Scholar for Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics category.

The LSU Office of Research & Economic Development, or ORED, recognizes excellence and outstanding achievement by faculty, who are leaders in their respective fields and balance their teaching and research responsibilities while extending the impact of their work to the world beyond academia.

Chatzopoulos received his BS from the University of Crete (Greece) in 2007 and his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in 2013. He served as an Enrico Fermi Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Chicago from 2013 until 2016, before joining LSU as an assistant professor in 2016. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2022.

A theoretical and computational astrophysicist specializing in supercomputer simulations to understand extreme astrophysical events, such as supernovae and massive stellar evolution, Chatzopoulos currently works on a variety of research projects having a great impact on many different aspects of astrophysics and astronomy.

He conducts research aimed at better understanding the deaths of stars and the most luminous transient astrophysical events in the Universe. He is at the forefront of applying fully 3D numerical models in extreme environments and his results are impacting many different astrophysical problems.

“Manos is a rising star in the field of astrophysics,” said Don Q. Lamb, the Robert A. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the University of Chicago’s Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, The Enrico Fermi Institute and Harris School of Public Policy. “He has already made significant contributions to our understanding of the final stages of the evolution of massive stars and the violent events that can ensue, including pair-instability supernovae and super-luminous supernovae; and luminous outbursts that are the result of the merger of binary stars.”

Chatzopoulos is one of the rare faculty members to have his research supported both by the National Science Foundation and by the U.S. Dept. of Energy through a prestigious Early Career Award. His current single investigator grants total about $1.2 million, an extraordinary level of funding for a theoretical research program by a single investigator.

His work, showcased in the Astrophysical Journal ‘Is Betelgeuse the Outcome of a Past Merger?’ explores the idea that Betelgeuse formed from a merger of two stars only a few hundred thousand years ago.

Chatzopoulos is an internationally recognized young leader in these fields with a reputation for outstanding research. This is evidenced by his total citation count, which is now about 2,000. His recent citation rate is about 250 per year, and he has 11 papers with more than 50 citations. His h- index is 21. Currently, Chatzopoulos has 13 papers with more than 50 citations, and more 2,300 citations total.

“The contributions that Dr. Chatzopoulos has made thus far to astrophysics are exceptional,” said Professor Frank Timmes, Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, American Physical Society Fellow and Senior Lead Editor of American Astronomical Society Journals. “He is widely regarded as one of the new emerging leaders in theoretical and computational stellar astrophysics. His published work is characterized by being thorough and complete. The science has consistently been of the highest quality, had a strong impact on their disciplines and encouraged growth in new areas. He is at the forefront of several fields in stellar astrophysics and operates at the highest level of innovation and creativity.”

His research program at LSU is also having a substantial impact on young scientists through his mentorship of postdocs and students. For example, his recent work on 3D simulations to understand the role of rotation and mixing in super luminous supernovae has shown that these events are likely more common than previously believed. With his graduate students at LSU, he is extending this work to include interactions of the supernovae with surrounding material, which is crucial for interpreting a diverse set of astronomical observations.

“Manos and associates have gotten involved in exciting 3D simulations that promise to reveal deeper understanding of the famous red giant Betelgeuse that is doomed to collapse and explode, but still harbors deep mysteries," noted J. Craig Wheeler, the Samuel T. and Fern Yanagisawa Regents Emeritus Professor of Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin.

An outstanding instructor, Chatzopoulos received the LSU College of Science Non-Tenured Research Faculty Award in 2022. Of note, his computational astrophysics course aims to teach students how to use algorithms and tackle problems while writing code in real-time. This communication-intensive class involves oral and written presentations for five projects, while working in a team environment, similar to what graduates will experience in their career.

As noted by his undergraduate students, “I liked how the instructor gave real–world examples and information in order to make sense of the concepts. I truly enjoyed this course. You are an excellent lecturer who managed to do the impossible for me: keep a science lecture class entertaining.” 

Using his entrepreneurial expertise, Chatzopoulos partnered with a computer science undergraduate student to develop a free smartphone app using crowdsourcing to assist drivers in locating available parking on LSU's campus. ParkZen now is offered by LSU Parking and Transportation Services, and the app won the top prize (a $100,000 seed investment) in the 2022 Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week, hosted by Nexus Louisiana. 

Awarded annually by LSU ORED, Campus Federal Credit Union and the Council on Research since 2010, the Rainmakers are bestowed upon six faculty in three categories, emerging scholar, mid-career scholar and senior scholar, who have established track records in securing external research funding and publishing in high-impact journals.



Mimi LaValle

LSU Physics & Astronomy