San Diego State University

Research Interest

All these features make neutron stars and catastrophic stellar events superb astrophysical laboratories for a wide range of physical studies. These range from the exploration of nuclear processes on the surfaces and inner crusts of neutron stars, to the exploration of novel states of matter—foremost quark matter—in the cores of such objects, to the exploration of the role of quark deconfinement for stellar core collapse events and proto-neutron stars. And with observational data accumulating rapidly from both orbiting and ground based observatories spanning the spectrum from X-rays to radio wavelengths, there has never been a more exiting time than today to study neutron stars, gamma-ray bursts, and supernovae. The Hubble Space Telescope and X-ray satellites such as Chandra and XMM-Newton in particular have proven especially valuable. New astrophysical instruments such as the Five hundred meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST), the square kilometer Array (skA), Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (formerly GLAST), Astrosat, ATHENA (Advanced Telescope for High ENergy Astrophysics), and the Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) promise the discovery of tens of thousands of new neutron stars. Of particular interest may be the proposed NICER mission (scheduled to launch in 2016), which is dedicated to the study of extraordinary gravitational, electromagnetic, and nuclear-physics environments embodied by neutron stars. NICER will explore the exotic states of matter in the core regions of neutron stars, where, as mentioned just above, density and pressure are much higher than in atomic nuclei. To keep up with the interpretation of all the data that will/are provided by these instruments, sophisticated studies need to be carried out which utilize the latest advances in theoretical nuclear, particle, and astrophysics paired with computational physics, which is the focal point of my research efforts. As a case in point, I would like to mention my research on possible astrophysical signals of exotic matter. Together with my students, I have been able to identify several such signals which are detectable with radio telescopes and X-ray satellites. This research has attracted tremendous interest in the physics and astrophysics community. Professors D. Manchester (CSIRO, Australia) and A. G. Lyne (Jodrell Bank, United Kingdom), two of the world’s leading radio astronomers, are aware of this work and are looking for evidence of the non-standard stellar effects predicted by us. Even more than that, the notion “quark astronomy” has been coined in the literature for these research activities.