PHAS Colloquia

Introduction to new faculty research

by Prof. Thomas Kupfer (Texas Tech University), Prof. Wade DeGottardi (Texas Tech Univ.)

Tuesday, 25 August 2020 from to (America/Chicago)
First Speaker: Dr. Thomas Kupfer (Physics & Astronomy, Texas Tech University)

Title: The most compact binaries in the Galaxy: Imminent Supernovae and Gravitational Wave Sources

Abstract: The most compact binary stars have physical separations between components smaller than the Earth-Moon distance and orbital periods less than about 60min. They are sources of low-frequency gravitational waves as will be probed by the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, are crucial to our understanding of compact binary evolution and offer pathways towards one of the most luminous explosions in the universe: Type Ia supernovae. Although the known sample is still inhomogenous, ongoing and upcoming large scale sky surveys have the potential to discover and study them with well understood biases and selection effects. In this talk I will present an overview of the field and some early results from a dedicated imaging survey of the Milky Way’s stellar plane to find these compact binaries. As part of this survey we have already discovered a new class of accreting He-star binaries and a new class of pulsating stars. Finally, I will provide an outlook on how upcoming large imaging surveys like the Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST) will allow us to collect and study a homogenous sample of different populations of these unique binary stars in the future.

About the speaker: Dr. Thomas Kupfer earned PhD in physics at Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands in 2015, followed by a postdoctoral scholars at California Institute of Technology in 2015 - 2018 and at University of California Santa Barbara in 2018 - 2020 before coming to Texas Tech University as an Assistant Professor in fall 2020. Dr. Kupfer is interested in Time Domain Astronomy and Big Data, Binary Evolution, and Compact Pulsating Stars.


Second Speaker: Dr. Wade DeGottardi (Physics & Astronomy, Texas Tech University)

Title: Topological Materials, Strongly Correlated One-Dimensional Systems, and Quantum Information

Abstract: I will present a broad overview of current and proposed research activities here at Texas Tech. I am a condensed matter theorist focused on topological materials, strongly correlated quantum liquids, and engineered quantum systems such as photonic materials and superconducting circuits. The goal of this work is to predict new physics, propose new ways of probing predicted physics, and to apply these findings to problems in quantum information. Topological systems of interest include superconducting wires hosting Majorana fermions, fractional quantum Hall liquids, and topological insulators. The physics of these systems is often studied through the lens of the exotic quasiparticles they exhibit. Work on strongly correlated one-dimensional systems has focused on a diverse array of physical systems, including carbon nanotubes, quantum wires, cold atomic gases, and the molecular chains believed to be present in the atmospheres of certain neutron stars. Aspects of these systems studied include the emergence of hydrodynamics, Luttinger liquid phenomenology, and non-linear Luttinger liquid effects.

About the speaker: Dr. Wade DeGottardi earned his PhD in physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2012. He then worked as a postdoc at Argonne National Lab (2012-2015) and the University of Maryland (2015-2018). He was a physicist at Northrop Grumman (2018-2020) before joining the faculty of Texas Tech University as an Assistant Professor in the fall of 2020. Dr. DeGottardi's research activities focus on topological systems, strongly-correlated low-dimensional systems, and quantum information.


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Organised by Myoung-Hwan Kim/AST, CMP