The word ‘astrophysics’ may conjure images of telescopes or particle accelerators, but an exciting new area in the field brings the large scales of the universe to a more manageable laboratory setting. Our Tutor in Physics, Professor Gianluca Gregori, is an expert in laboratory astrophysics and his research has been recognised with a Fellowship of the American Physical Society.
‘I am a laboratory astrophysicist, which means I do laboratory experiments to study astrophysical objects’, explained Professor Gregori. Large lasers are fired over objects creating small explosions of just a few centimetres. These small explosions simulate what happens when galaxies or clusters of galaxies collide, since the equations that describe the motion of fluids or plasma are the same at different scales. ‘By looking at what happens in a few centimetres we can understand what happens in millions of parsecs’. Professor Gregori’s research uses these laboratory techniques to simulate the formation of magnetic fields in the universe, and how the turbulence generated by collisions of galaxies amplifies these emissions.
This exciting new way to study astrophysics is still relatively new but with increasing relevance in the field. ‘I am very pleased to have been elected Fellow of the American Physical Society’ said Professor Gregori ‘This nomination demonstrates that experimental work connected with astrophysics is starting to be recognised by the academic community’.
The American Physical Society is a not-for-profit organization working ‘to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics’. 248 APS members were elected to the Fellowship this year. Professor Gregori has been a Fellow and Tutor of Physics at LMH since 2012 and a Professor at the Department of Physics since 2013. He holds a Ph.D. and a M.S. from the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, USA) and a M.S. from the University of Bologna (Italy).