Professor Raphael Hirschi: Using Computer Simulations of Stars as Virtual Extreme Physics Laboratories
Professor of Stellar Hydrodynamics and Nuclear Astrophysics
Stars, massive stars in particular, play a key role in the universe through the light they shine, their kinetic feedback via the supernova explosions that mark their death and the chemical elements they produce. They are complex objects involving many physical processes: nuclear reactions, convection, rotation, magnetic fields, binary interactions. The cores of massive stars are the progenitors of extreme physical objects such as neutron stars and black holes. These extreme compact objects emit gravitational waves when they merge and this new window on the universe has recently been opened thanks to the LIGO and Virgo observatories (awarded the Physics Nobel prize in 2017). Theoretical models of the evolution of stars enable us to predict the cosmic impact of stars and provide a virtual laboratory for extreme physics. In this lecture, I will present highlights from my research since joining Keele, which demonstrate the huge potential of computer simulations of stars and review the past (and present) large projects (ERC starting grant for SHYNE project) and collaborations (ChETEC COST Action) that I lead. I will finish by explaining the long-term objectives of my research, which are linking major nuclear physics experiments to large astronomical observing programmes, 3D hydrodynamics simulations to 1D stellar models and theoretical stellar astrophysics to the high performance computing industry.
Professor Raphael Hirshi studies the evolution, fate and impact of stars. Raphael completed a MSc in Physics at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in 1999 and a PhD in Astrophysics at the Observatoire de Genève in 2004. During his PhD, Raphael studied the impact of rotation on the late phases of the evolution of massive stars. He then went to the Universität Basel as a postdoctoral fellow to determine the comprehensive nucleosynthesis taking place in massive stars. Since joining Keele University in 2007, major highlights of his research have been the determination of the mass and fate of the most massive stars known to date, explaining unique abundances in the early Universe and the setting-up and leading of large projects (ERC starting grant for SHYNE project 2012-2017) and collaborations (NUGRID, BRIDGCE, ChETEC COST Action). The goal of Raphael’s theoretical research is to link major nuclear physics experiments to large astronomical observing programmes, 3D hydrodynamics simulations to 1D stellar models and theoretical stellar astrophysics to the high performance computing industry.
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- Westminster Theatre, Chancellor's Building
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- 01782 734036