Jaki Noronha-Hostler

Assistant Professor


 Jaki Noronha-Hostler

Primary Research Area

  • Nuclear Physics
427 Loomis Laboratory


Dr. Jacquelyn Noronha-Hostler finished her PhD in Theoretical Physics at the Goethe University in Frankfurt in 2010, during this time she was also a visiting student at Columbia University from 2008-2009 and she received funding from FIAS, GRADED, and the ITP in Frankfurt. For her undergraduate degree she graduated Magma cum Laude from Berea College with a double major in Physics and Mathematics with a minor in German for which she was awarded the Waldemar Noll Scholarship in Physics, the Senior Mathematics Award, and travel funds from the DAAD, NSF, and the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship. Following her Phd, she obtained a FAPESP postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Sao Paulo, followed by an Associate Research position at Columbia University, and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Houston. From 2017-2019 she was an Assistant Professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Rutgers University where she received the 2018 Alfred P Sloan Fellowship and the 2018 Department of Energy Early Career Award. In 2019 she joined the faculty at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign as an Assistant Professor. She is currently on the executive committee for the American Physical Society's Division of Nuclear Physics and is a member of the BEST collaboration. She recently finished a 4 year term on the RHIC & AGS User's Executive Committee

Pronouns: she/her

Research Interests

  • Nuclear theory: Relativistic heavy-ion collisions, relativistic fluids (viscous), Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics, Neutron Stars, Phase Transitions, Hadronic Interactions, Computational Physics

Research Statement


My research focuses on extracting the fundamental properties of the Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP), the phase of strongly interacting matter that existed microseconds after the Big Bang. To recreate the QGP in the laboratory heavy nuclei are smashed together at nearly the speed of light to reach extremely high temperatures. At this point, quarks and gluons are no longer bound together in hadrons but create a strongly interacting, dense quark gluon “soup” that flows like a nearly frictionless liquid. Here, a frictionless liquid implies that the shear viscosity (friction between shear layers) over entropy density, η/s, is an order of magnitude smaller than the one found in water.

In order to investigate the theory of strong interactions, Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), in its strongly interacting regime, Lattice QCD is used. This is a numerical method in which quarks and gluons are placed on a discretized four-dimensional grid. The quarks sit on the lattice sites, while the gluons are the links between them. Lattice QCD has been enormously successful in computing the thermodynamic properties of the QGP at zero baryon density. Lattice calculations predict a crossover phase transition between the hadron gas phase and the QGP.  Current Lattice QCD calculations have two limitations: dynamical (real time) calculations and large baryon densities, which are the primary focus of my research. 

The QGP created in the laboratory is the hottest, smallest, and densest fluid known to mankind so a well-established dynamical description is necessary to interpret experimental results. Effective models such as relativistic viscous hydrodynamics use the Lattice QCD Equation of State to serve as a bridge between first principle calculations and experimental observables that describe the collective motion of the QGP. 




Graduate Research Opportunities

Currently seeking graduate students on a wide range of topics in nuclear theory

Research Honors

  • DOE Early Career Award (9/15/18)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship (9/15/18)

Selected Articles in Journals

Related news

  • Faculty Highlights
  • Nuclear Physics

Jaki Noronha-Hostler is a nuclear physicist. In her research, she does simulations of the most perfect fluid we know of – quark-gluon plasma – moving at the speed of light, and then compares the simulations directly to experimental data.