PhD Gang Shen

Age: 34

Area of research:

Dense matter and neutrino interactions in astrophysics

Name of my University / Research Institute (before TU Darmstadt): Institute for Nuclear Theory, Seattle

Research period at the TU Darmstadt:

Feb. 2014 – Jan. 2016

Questionnaire to the Research Fellow

My field of research is fascinating. To laymen I would explain it in the following comprehensible manner:

Supernova explosions and neutron star mergers are nature’s most extreme laboratories for studying the properties of dense matter; the densities reached are more than billions of times larger than those on earth. The equation of state of this hot and dense matter largely determines the properties of the supernova and merger remnants. Neutrino interactions with hot and dense matter dictate the evolution of these remnants. Neutrinos are also the only observable signals so far, through which earth-based experiments probe matter inside supernovae and help us understand the final stages of massive stars.

My most important success in research to date is…

I developed a novel, modern self-consistent equation of state of nuclear matter that provides a unified description of nuclei and hot and dense matter for a wide range of temperatures, densities, and proton fractions, now widely used in numerical simulations of core-collapse supernovae, neutron star mergers, and related extreme astrophysical phenomena. My thesis research was recognized with the “Dissertation Award in Nuclear Physics” of the American Physical Society in 2013.

I’ve chosen the TU Darmstadt because of…

its excellent research strength in nuclear astrophysics. The strong research in Prof. Schwenk’s group ideally complements my own expertise on the nuclear equation of state and neutrino interactions.

Gang Shen with Professor Achim Schwenk.
Gang Shen with Professor Achim Schwenk.

If I were a student today, I would…

learn more on the usage of numerical techniques in astrophysics than I did.

The perfect balance to a stressful working day is…

moderate exercising and meditation.

With the help of my host in Darmstadt I would like to…

build a unified framework for the equation of state and neutrino interactions with hot and dense matter based on chiral effective field theory. This project will provide first estimate of the uncertainties in the microphysics for astrophysical studies of core-collapse supernova and neutron star mergers, and help identify connections between the neutrino and gravitational wave signals from the remnants, which provide information about the underlying extreme matter.

Questionnaire for the host

Guest of: Prof. Ph.D. Achim Schwenk

Department: Department of Physics

You appreciate in your guest / your guest favourably impressed you by…

his research excellence in nuclear astrophysics, including the challenging development of a new equation of state for core-collapse supernovae, his excitement for physics broadly and for pursuing new directions in research.

You, your team and the TU Darmstadt benefit from your guest’s…

great expertise in the equation of state of hot and dense matter over the broad range of conditions encountered in core-collapse supernova explosions, in particular the microscopic description, his work on the crust regime between solid and liquid phases, and the development of consistent neutrino-matter interactions.

Prof. Achim Schwenk.
Prof. Achim Schwenk.