Péter Mészáros

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Péter Mészáros
Péter István Mészáros

(1943-07-15)July 15, 1943
Budapest, Hungary
CitizenshipHungary, United States
Alma mater
  • University of Buenos Aires
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Princeton University
  • Cambridge University
Known for
  • Gamma ray bursts
  • Mészáros effect
  • Einstein Professorship Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Bruno Rossi Prize
  • First Prize Gravity Research Foundation
Scientific career
InstitutionsPennsylvania State University
Doctoral advisorGeorge B. Field

Péter István Mészáros, or Peter Mészáros, is a Hungarian-American theoretical astrophysicist, best known for the Mészáros effect [1] in cosmology and for his work on gamma-ray bursts [2], [3].


Péter Mészáros was born in Budapest, Hungary, and grew up in Liége, Belgium and Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he did his undergraduate studies. He received his PhD in 1972 from the University of California, Berkeley, and after postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton University and Cambridge University he became a staff scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics. He joined the Pennsylvania State University in 1983, where for ten years he was Head of the department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and Professor of Physics, being named Eberly Chair Professor[4].


Mészáros is widely known in the astrophysical community for his papers on the relativistic fireball shock model of gamma ray bursts and their afterglows [2],[3], laying down the framework for the interplay between the jet dynamics and the external as well as internal shocks which determine the observational aspects of these sources. He is also known in the cosmological community for the Mészáros effect[1], or Mészáros equation, which quantifies the influence of dark matter in the evolution of the initial perturbations leading to large scale structures in cosmology. He was active in the study of the interstellar medium as well as the astrophysics of black holes, and contributed broadly to the study of magnetized neutron stars, e.g. [5]. He served as the science-theory lead of the NASA Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory space mission. His current interests include calculations of theoretical models of cosmic high energy cosmic ray and neutrino sources, e.g. [6], [7], as well as exploring various aspects of multimessenger astrophysics.


Mészáros is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2010) [8], Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2010)[9], Fellow of the American Physical Society (1996) and Fellow of the American Astronomical Society (2019). He is the Eberly Chair Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and Astrophysics and of Physics at Penn State, and is currently the Director of its Center for Multimessenger Astrophysics[10].


2013: "Einstein Professorship of the Chinese Academy of Sciences".; 2009: "Thomson Reuters scienceWATCH: Highest ranked in citations on gamma-ray bursts duriing 1999-2009".; 2007: "Bruno Rossi Prize (shared with Neil Gehrels and the Swift team)".; 2000: "Bruno Rossi Prize (shared with B. Paczynski and M.J. Rees)".; 1999: "Fellow, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation".; 1976: "First Prize, Gravity Research Foundation (shared with P. Kafka)"..


  1. 1.0 1.1 Mészáros, P., "The behaviour of point masses in an expanding cosmological substratum", Astronomy and Astrophysics, vol. 37, no. 2, Dec. 1974, p. 225-228
  2. 2.0 2.1 Mészáros, P. and Rees, M.J., "Optical and Long-Wavelength Afterglow from Gamma-Ray Bursts", The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 476, Issue 1, Feb. 1997, pp. 232-237
  3. 3.0 3.1 Rees, M.J. and Mészáros, P., "Unsteady Outflow Models for Cosmological Gamma-Ray Bursts", Astrophysical Journal Letters v.430, August 1994, pp.L93-L96
  4. https://news.psu.edu/story/207785/2005/10/14/meszaros-named-holder-eberly-family-chair-astronomy-astrophysics Eberly Chair Professor
  5. Mészáros, Peter (1992), High energy radiation from magnetized neutron stars, Chicago: University of Chicago, ISBN 0-226-52093-5, pp.1-531
  6. Rachen, J.P. and Mészáros, P., "Photohadronic neutrinos from transients in astrophysical sources", Physical Review D, Volume 58, Issue 12, 15 December 1998, id. 123005
  7. Murase, K., Kimura, S.S. and Mészáros, P., "Hidden Cores of Active Galactic Nuclei as the Origin of Medium-Energy Neutrinos: Critical Tests with the MeV Gamma-Ray Connection", Physical Review Letters, Volume 125, Issue 1, June 2020, id. 011101
  8. https://news.psu.edu/story/166804/2010/06/08/academics/peter-meszaros-elected-2010-american-academy-fellow
  9. https://news.psu.edu/story/166544/2010/06/21/academics/peter-meszaros-elected-member-hungarian-academy-sciences
  10. http://sites.psu.edu/cmma Penn State Center for Multimessenger Astrophysics

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