Prashanth Jaikumar

Department Chair, and Professor - Nuclear Astrophysics

Ph.D. Physics, SUNY at Stony Brook, New York, USA, 2002

Research Interests

  • Nuclear Astrophysics
  • Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD)
  • Neutron Stars

Astronomy is the oldest of the physical sciences, practiced in one form or the other by the most ancient civilizations. My research addresses some of the key questions in modern Astrophysics: What powers fantastic astronomical events such as gamma-ray bursts and supernovae? How and where did the elements in the periodic table originate? What happens to the state of matter in the interior of neutron stars or black holes? I use a combination of theoretical ideas and computational techniques to answer these questions and pose new ones.

My research focuses on the properties of quarks inside neutron stars. Quarks are the building blocks of matter and at high density; they behave like a superfluid and sometimes like a superconductor, with many complex phases. These novel phases of matter impact observable properties of neutron stars such as their mass, radius and spin frequency. A related issue is the nucleosynthesis of elements, which requires a detailed understanding of stellar explosions and neutron star features through development of computer codes. Such extreme astrophysical environments are an ideal testing ground for advancing our knowledge of the nature of matter at the highest densities.