Recent PhD Graduate in Theoretical Astrophysics
As a graduate student David worked with Professor Dong Lai studying theoretical astrophysics. After graduation, he became a Fairchild Prize Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech and will be starting as a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University this fall.
For his thesis he studied dynamics of astrophysical disks, including their oscillation modes and instabilities. As a postdoc, he has studied a wide range of astrophysical dynamics including evolution of protoplanetary systems, X-ray binaries, gravitational waves and merging neutron stars. He has recently completed work showing that neutron star crusts may resonantly shatter as they inspiral towards merger, much like an opera singer shattering a wineglass. He also showed that measuring the timing of such resonant shattering flares and the gravitational wave signature of these mergers can probe the physics of nuclei, deep within the neutron star crusts, at pressures and densities unreachable in the laboratory.
David worked as a teaching assistant for the majority of his graduate career, which he thoroughly enjoyed. In 2007 he received the American Association of Physics Teachers outstanding TA award. As a postdoc, he mentors undergraduate and graduate research students, while also regularly participating in the Titanium Physicist Podcast, where he explains complicated physics to non-physicist guests.