Keele professor takes up role on international astrophysics group

A Keele professor has taken up a new post on an international steering committee designed to coordinate astrophysics research from universities around the world.

Raphael Hirschi, Professor in Stellar Hydrodynamics and Nuclear Astrophysics at Keele University, joins colleagues from all over the globe as he takes his place on the steering committee for the newly-created International Research Network for Nuclear Astrophysics (IReNA).

Professor Hirschi is chair of the ChETEC (Chemical Elements as Tracers of the Evolution of the Cosmos) COST Action community, which includes more than 200 scientists across Europe, and will represent this large European community on the IReNA steering committee. He is also a co-founder and member of the NuGrid international Nucleosynthesis Grid collaboration, which will also take part in IReNA.

IReNA has been designed to connect six research groups from all over the world which are dedicated to interdisciplinary research in the fields of nuclear physics and astrophysics.

This collaborative approach is designed to help scientists from all over the globe draw on each other’s expertise to help them solve some of the biggest mysteries in astronomy and astrophysics.

IReNA creates the necessary communication channels and collaborative structures for the researchers to pool their knowledge and, together, IReNA scientists will have access to a variety of accelerators, astronomical observatories, experimental equipment, data, and computer codes.

Professor Hirschi said: "This is an exciting opportunity for research in nuclear astrophysics and the origin of chemical elements. ChETEC coordinates research in this field across Europe and IReNA will extend this coordination worldwide. This initiative coincides nicely with the year of the periodic table."

Hendrik Schatz, director of IReNA and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics Centre for the Evolution of Elements, added: “This is an innovative approach to science. It is also a unique opportunity for young researchers to train across disciplines, and gives them experience working with large teams.”

Picture credit: Erin O'Donnell, NSCL