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Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Center for Theoretical Astrophysics

Focusing on a broad range of computational astrophysics topics

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Rendering of a smooth particle hydrodynamics calculation of two white dwarfs merging

Rendering of a smooth particle hydrodynamics calculation of two white dwarfs merging

Center for Theoretical Astrophysics: collaborative science

The Center for Theoretical Astrophysics spans a wide range of divisions and directorates. Core scientists reside in the following divisions:

In turn, they work on collaborations with scientists in these divisions:

The Lab has roughly 50 active astrophysicists; 80% of them are permanent staff.

Research Areas
  • Cosmology and the first stars: Cosmology calculations using a broad range of tools (e.g., ENZO and Gadget), focused on studying the formation of the first stars and black holes
  • Active galactic nuclei: Evolution of massive black holes, studying both radiation and magneto-hydrodynamic effects
  • Star and planet formation: Formation of the solar system, extra-solar planets.
  • Engines behind transients: Thermonuclear and core-collapse supernovae, gamma-ray burst, and x-ray burst engines.
  • Nuclear astrophysics: Understanding the behavior of matter and nuclear densities and applying these effects (neutrinos, equations of state) to supernova models
  • Nucleosynthesis: Yields from stars and supernovae, nuclear cross-sections (tying to experiment), galactic chemical evolution
  • Supernova remnants: Following the engine through the remnant phase, effects of NLTE opacities, and magneto-hydrodynamics
  • Emission from astrophysical transients: Modeling spectra and light-curves, radiation-hydrodynamics effects, atomic physics
  • Cosmic rays: Generation and propagation of cosmic rays from gamma-ray bursts and supernovae. Ties to a number of missions (e.g., HAWC, NuSTAR).
  • Experimental astrophysics: Many of the fields leverage laboratory experiments in plasma physics, turbulence, radiation transport, nuclear, and atomic physics.
Physics Outreach

Hands-on physics with young scientists

Initially part of a Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation Grant for second-graders, Nicole Lloyd-Ronning has developed a six-lesson series of hands-on physics activities for elementary school classes.*

Lloyd-Ronning visits classrooms around the district, leading the children in experiments investigating:

  • electric and magnetic forces
  • gravity and black holes
  • light across the entire electromagnetic spectrum sound
  • our sun and solar system
  • comets and more

*Featured in the Los Alamos Daily Post and the Los Alamos Monitor

Scientist Ambassador Academy

Lloyd-Ronning is also part of the Scientist Ambassador Academy program run by the Bradbury Science Museum. The program engages a wide range of discussions about the science and research activities happening at the Laboratory. She has participated in numerous public outreach events, talking with people from age 3 to 93 about how astronomers use the entire electromagnetic spectrum to learn about the universe.

Student and Community Outreach

A subset of the astrophysics team is developing a community education class geared toward any community members (including high school and college students) interested in science, in which the students work in teams on current, open-ended astrophysical research problems. The goal of the class is to give students a taste of what it is like to be a professional scientist and welcomes all who are interested, regardless of their math and science backgrounds. The class is under development with the intent of starting in the 2016-2017 academic year.

People
Staff
  • Paul Bradley (XCP-6)
  • Joe Carlson (T-2)
  • Vincenzo Cirigliano (T-2)
  • Aaron Couture (P-27)
  • Brenda Dingus (P-23)
  • Josh Dolence (CCS-2)
  • Jennifer Donley (XTD-PRI)
  • Wes Even (CCS-2)
  • Chris Fontes (XCP-5)
  • Lucy Frey (XCP-1)
  • Chris Fryer (CCS-2)
  • Stefano Gandolfi (T-2)
  • Fan Guo (T-2)
  • Galen Gisle (XTD-IDA)
  • Joyce Guzik (XTD-BTA)
  • Pat Harding (P-23)
  • Aimee Hungerford (XCP-DO)
  • Candace Joggerst (XTD-PRI)
  • Jarrett Johnson (XTD-PRI)
  • Toshihiko Kawano (T-2)
  • Brendan Krueger (XCP-2)
  • Hye Young Lee (P-27)
  • Hui Li (T-2)
  • Nicole Lloyd-Ronning (CCS-2)
  • Chris Malone (XCP-1)
  • Zach Medin (XCP-2)
  • Peter Moller (T-2)
  • Michael Murillo (CCS-2)
  • Katie Mussack (XTD-IDA)
  • Andy Nelson (XCP-2)
  • Cathy Plesko (XTD-NTA)
  • Kathy Prestridge (P-23)
  • Bob Robey (XCP-2)
  • Joe Smidt (XTD-IDA)
  • Terrance Strother (XTD-IDA)
  • Patrick Talou (T-2)
  • Tom Vestrand (ISR-2)
  • Rod Whitaker (EES-17)
  • Przemyk Wozniak (ISR-2)
  • Allan Wollaber (CCS-2)
Postdocs
  • Jeff Haack (CCS-2)
  • Oleg Korobkin (CCS-2)
  • Irina Sagert (XTD-IDA)
  • Ryan Wollaeger (CCS-2)
Students
  • Sydney Andrews (T-CNLS)
  • Austin Davis (P-23)
  • Laura Elgin (XTD-IDA)
  • Ebraheem Farag (XTD-IDA)
  • Forrest Glines (XTD-IDA)
  • Cole Kendrick (XCP-2)
  • Katie Kosak (XTD-NTA)
  • Elizabeth Lovegrove (XCP-1)
  • Hugh Morgan (XTD-NTA)
  • Woody VanDervort (XTD-IDA)
  • Brandon Wiggins (CCS-2)

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