Once a second, somewhere in the universe, a star explodes. These cosmic explosions, known as supernovae, are captured nightly in distant galaxies by astronomers surveying the heavens. Yet, there is a mystery underlying these stellar sirens. "We still don't know the origin of the most important class of supernovae, which are used as cosmic mile markers to understand the size, composition, and ultimate future of our universe," says Robert Fisher, professor of physics at UMass Dartmouth’s College of Engineering.
Fisher is the recent recipient of a $550K research grant awarded to him through NASA’s highly-competitive Astrophysics Theory Program. "The key concept of our proposal is to bring new breakthroughs on explosions made in the lab by our engineering colleagues into supercomputer simulations of supernovae," Professor Fisher says.
Professor Fisher noted that the interdisciplinary nature of this research into exploding stars necessitates an interdisciplinary research team. The proposed research will be conducted with Fisher's collaborator Alexei Poludnenko, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Connecticut. The award will also support a postdoctoral research fellow and a PhD student who will undertake supercomputer simulations of these supernovae.
Watch the video to learn more about Dr. Fisher's research.