Huaiyu (Mike) Duan, Associate Professor

Research Interests:

My research currently centers on how neutrino oscillations affect supernova physics.

Supernovae are essential in the chemical evolution of the universe. Only Hydrogen (1H), Helium (4He) and a trace amount of other light elements were produced during the Big Bang. During the explosion, a supernova ejects the heavy elements into the Interstellar Medium which were synthesized during the stellar evolution of the progenitor star and during the explosion itself. New generations of stars are born inside the enriched Interstellar Medium. Had it not been the numerous supernovae that exploded in the Milky Way before the birth of the solar system, our own earth would not have existed.

A core-collapse supernova emits about 1058 neutrinos in 10 seconds which carry away 99% of its energy. Even though neutrinos interact only weakly with matter, they are instrumental in the synthesis of heavy elements in supernovae. Recently it was discovered that neutrinos of different kinds, known as "flavors", could change into each other during flight. This "neutrino mixing" phenomenon adds a new twist to the neutrino physics in supernova.

As a "hobby" my student and I are also studying the transport properties of the neutron star crust.