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High Energy Astrophysics

Baring 01

Chaguine 01

Fossati 01

Matthew Baring

Associate Professor


Petr Chaguine

Faculty Fellow


Giovanni Fossati

Research Scientist


Liang 01

Michel 01

Smith 01

Edison Liang



Curt Michel

Emeritus Professor


Ian Smith

Senior Faculty Fellow


Primary Current Research Efforts of Rice HEA Faculty

See also the Galactic Astronomy page for related research

Matthew Baring

Investigation of quantum processes and their radiative signatures in magnetar and gamma-ray pulsar magnetospheres

Pair processes, spectroscopic, diagnostics, polarization, and bulk motion determinations in gamma-ray bursts

Petr Chaguine


Direct Dark Matter search experiments

High Energy Density physics

Giovanni Fossati

Interpreting X-rays and gamma-ray observations of extraagalactic relativistic jet/black hole systems in active galactic nuclei

Large multifrequency surveys and statistical studies, population synthesis models, and unification scenarios for active galactic nuclei

Edison Liang

Exploration of astrophysical phenomena, such as radiative shocks and particle acceleration in pair plasmas, using intense lasers

Modeling the radiation output of magnetized accretion flows onto galactic and extragalactic black holes

Studies of particle acceleration in collisionless astrophysical and heliospheric plasma shocks, and electromagnetic outflows

Curt Michel

Pulsar electrodynamics and magnetospheric structure

Ian Smith

Multiwavelengths observations of black holes in our galaxy, and ultraluminous supernova and black holes in nearby galaxies

Multiwavelengths observations of gamma-ray burst afterglows, including using the Rice camera on the AEOS telescope

Links above have complete descriptions of ongoing research programs

Examples of HEA research at Rice:

From NASA's Imagine the Universe Web Site, an artist's conception of a powerful gamma-ray burst (GRB) being viewed by NASA's groundbreaking Swift mission. GRBs have fascinated high energy astrophysicists for three decades, and have formed a major focus of our research efforts, with specific emphases on afterglow observations, modeling particle acceleration in bursts, jet collimation, and interpreting their radiative signatures. They also serve as principal science drivers for future X-ray and gamma-ray space initiatives such as NASA's GLAST mission and future advanced Compton telescopes, which along with Swift, have significant participation from Physics and Astronomy's High Energy Astrophysics group.           
A melange of the optical (Hubble Space Telescope) and X-ray (Chandra X-ray Observatory) images of the Crab pulsar wind nebula, obtained from two of NASA's premier astronomical observatories. The Crab pulsar system epitomizes much of the research engaged in by the High Energy Astrophysics group at Rice, sampling plasma physics, jet phenomena, particle acceleration, neutron star electrodynamics and radiative physics, and nebular emission. The study of the Crab encapsulates a rich diversity of subdisciplines in physics, including relativity, quantum mechanics, electrodynamics and plasma physics.